MoU signals new era of cooperation between research centres

(From left) Jon Gibbins, Director UKCCSRC, UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon, and Richard Adamson, Managing Director CMC

May 8, 2014: Calgary, AB, Canada  — Research to ensure carbon capture and storage projects are designed and operated in a cost effective, safe, secure way was furthered today with the signing of a forward-looking agreement by representatives from CMC Research Institutes, Inc. (CMC) and the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC).

Richard Adamson, Managing Director of CMC, and Prof. Jon Gibbins, Director of the UKCCSRC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that advances an already cooperative relationship between the two research organizations – both of which invest to develop and validate technologies and practices to make carbon capture and storage (CCS) a practical industrial response to carbon emission constraints. In both Canada and the UK, capturing carbon and storing it underground plays a critical role in greenhouse gas reduction strategies.

“There is a strong correlation between collaboration and innovation and we at CMC believe this agreement will accelerate the development and commercialization of the technologies and solutions we need to tackle the global challenge of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Adamson.

Field Research Station a site for collaboration

Adamson pointed to CMC’s field research station (FRS), currently under development, as a facility where joint projects will take place. “We are building the field research station as a site to be used by academic and industry researchers as well as technology developers from around the world. This MoU is a springboard for the collaborative projects we envision for the FRS,” he said. Work at the research station will focus on developing solutions to measurement, monitoring and verification challenges associated with movement and containment of subsurface fluids, including CO2.

One of the barriers to the large-scale implementation of CCS is cost and researchers in both countries are working on ways to capture and store carbon more efficiently.

“Learning by doing is critical to get the performance improvements and cost reductions that will be needed for the second generation CCS projects.  Research driven by practical experience with projects in Canada, supported by this collaboration, is going to help drive down the costs of future CCS deployment in the UK, ” said Gibbins.

Agreement builds on previous activity

This agreement formalizes an already strong relationship between the two organizations and researchers in both countries. For instance, CMC and UKCCSRC are funding an early career researcher exchange program, last year CMC sent graduate students to a summer school operated by the UK Energy Research Centre, and CMC has several times met with high-level UK delegations visiting Calgary.

“Scientists and engineers in the UK have been following Canada’s leading work on CCS for over a decade.  Our new phase of engagement builds on this previous activity, including a very successful young researcher exchange programme between CMC and UKCCSRC.  As CCS moves to wider deployment there is a great deal to work on together,” said Gibbins.

Moving forward under the MoU, areas for potential collaboration include collaborative research projects by CMC and UKCCSRC researchers; joint workshops, seminars and webinars; regular bi-annual meetings of management teams; researcher exchanges; and the reciprocal publication of research news.

Energy ministers supportive of agreement

Representatives from the UK government and the government of Alberta were both supportive of the agreement.

UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon was present at the signing and endorsed the agreement, saying: “I welcome today’s signing of the MoU between Carbon Management Canada and the UK’s Carbon Capture & Storage Research Centre. CCS is a vital step toward achieving a low carbon economy. The UK enjoys a close and productive relationship with Canada on CCS, and this includes the development of shared research efforts.  Today’s agreement makes that relationship even closer.”

Alberta’s Energy Minister Diana McQueen said, “The MOU strengthens existing relations between our two countries. In addition to the benefit that CCS is bringing to Alberta and its energy industry, an important part of Alberta’s CCS program is sharing our learnings with other jurisdictions. CCS is a powerful tool against climate change and the more responsible actions we can take together will be better for our planet and for future generations.”

For interviews contact:

Ruth Klinkhammer, Communications Director
CMC Research Institutes, Inc.
T: +1 (403) 210-7879

Ciara O’Connor, Network Manager
UK CCS Research Centre
T: +44 (0)131 650 8564

About the UK CCS Research Centre

The UK CCS Research Centre (UKCCSRC) is a virtual hub that brings together over 200 of the UK’s leading researchers, acting as the two-way interface for government, industry and international collaboration.  The UKCCSRC is leading and coordinating a programme of underpinning research on all aspects of CCS in support of basic science and UK government efforts on energy and climate change. UKCCSRC is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of the Research Councils UK Energy Programme, with additional funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).