CCS in Southern Africa: An Assessment of the Rationale, Possibilities and Capacity Needs to Enable CO2 Capture and Storage in Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia

Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands

[From Summary] With climate change becoming a more urgent problem, many studies indicate that all mitigation options will need to be used to globally reduce emissions sufficiently to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. This includes the option of the capture and geological storage of CO2 (CCS), a relatively new technology that captures CO2 from large point sources, such as power plants and large industrial installations, transports it, and stores it permanently in a geological reservoir. CCS is most likely first deployed in countries with high industrial emissions, but the most cost-effective opportunities are not necessarily in the developed world. In particular, the region of Southern Africa is mentioned as a potential place for CCS  deployment, because of high-purity CO2 sources in South Africa, abundant coal reserves all over the region, and a desire to be pro-active on climate change.

The aim of this report is threefold: to report on three workshops on CCS in Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia, to discuss the energy and industry situation in the countries and the potential role of CCS, and to provide recommendations for potential next steps on CCS in the Southern African region….

The situations in Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia with regard to electricity generation, electricity demand, industrial development plans, CO2 emissions and CCS have similarities and distinctions. All countries face an electricity deficit, energy access challenges and a need to industrialise for economic development. Also, the three countries share the desire to industrialise in a sustainable way. But the way in which this may be done differs. Botswana has two energy resources in abundance: solar energy and coal. While solar energy on a large scale is a technology with high costs and deployment challenges and more suitable for the long term, coal could be used in the short term. Mozambique has great hydropower, biomass and solar resources, as well as gas and coal reserves. Namibia’s energy resources include primarily solar and biomass, and are limited in terms of fossil fuels.

All three countries have plans to increase their electricity generation capacities. In addition to renewable energy, in Mozambique and Botswana, coal-fired power is a likely option, as both countries have large reserves of coal. Botswana is also investigating the potential use of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG), a technology which if combined with CCS and if regulated appropriately, could represent a low-cost, low-carbon energy solution. In terms of geological CO2 storage potential, there is understood to be significant potential in both Mozambique and Botswana, however the data required to provide reliable information is fragmented and dispersed across a number of different parties….

It can be concluded that especially for Botswana and Mozambique, further knowledge building on CCS is useful, as realistic possibilities for CCS may exist. For Namibia, this is less obvious. It is clear that CCS can only function in a broader, integrated energy strategy for the countries but also for the region. Further work may include conducting geological storage assessments (quick scans) for the countries, providing regulatory capacity building with  the relevant government bodies, and fostering continued interaction regarding CCS between European institutions, Southern African stakeholders, and South African institutions active on CCS.


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