Information on different aspects of Italy’s CCS commitment can be found below:

Italy’s R&D Program in CCS   

The main R&D institutions involved in R&D programs are ENEA (together with its owned company SOTACARBO), OGS, RSE.

ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) is managing a major project on CCS funded by Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MSE), in the frame of the National programme “Applied Research for Electric Power System” (in short “RdS Fund”): in three years period 2012-14 a total of 20 M€ for CCS R&D project have been made available, including both Capture and Storage.The main goals are the following: a) research on pre-combustion capture technologies and CO2 storage (with ECBM and also CO2 injection in deep saline aquifers); b) testing on pilot installations; c) to support the national Industry and research system with the aim of increasing their cooperation with a view to their playing a stronger role at the international level; d) to define the Italian national path on CCS; e) to develop oxy-combustion technology for the realization of a pilot plant in Sardinia f) to stimulate the cooperation among national stakeholders in order to increase public acceptance, due to the very low level of awareness on CCS is in Italy as for many other issues related to industrial technologies. NGOs in Italy are generally not in favour of CCS, except for the Sardinia region, where Italian coal mines are located.

SOTACARBO is managing a CCS R&D program co-funded by ENEA and regional government of Sardinia; the main goals are: a) to study and qualify pre and post-combustion capture technologies, and advanced gas cleaning; b) to study real installations equipped with CO2 capture systems, with a view to constructing a demonstrative power installation in Sardinia; c) to give feasibility study for demo and pilot plant in Sardinia d) to study the feasibility of CO2 storage in the Sulcis coal basin. In fact, the Sardinia Region is evaluating to co-finance some CCS activities to be run in the Sulcis coal basin: a demo project (with up to 1 Mton CO2/year to be captured and stored) and a pilot project (with up to 100.000 ton CO2/year to be captured and stored).

OGS (National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics) is the main Italian research institution participating in a number of CCS projects of the EU Framework Programmes, including CASTOR (CO2 from CApture to STORage), INCA-CO2 (INternational Co-operation Actions on CO2 capture and storage), GeoCapacity (Assessing European capacity for geological storage of carbon dioxide), CO2 GeoNet (The European Network of eExcellence on the geological storage of CO2), CO2ReMoVe (CO2 geological storage: Research Into Monitoring And Verification technology), RISCS (Research into Impacts and Safety in CO2 Storage), CO2CARE (Research into Impacts and Safety in CO2 Storage), SiteChar (Characterisation of European CO2 Storage), CGS Europe (Pan-European coordination action on CO2 Geological Storage) and ECO2 (Sub-seabed CO2 Storage: Impact on Marine Ecosystems), many of which together with “La Sapienza” University of Rome.

RSE (Ricerca Sistema Energetico) is involved mainly in CO2 storage: the project has the objectives of pinpointing areas potentially suitable to CO2 geological storage, creating a Geographic Information System for the National Inventory of Potential Storage Sites, refining calculation systems and tuning up instrumentation.

OGS and ENEA are members of ECCSEL (European Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage Laboratory Infrastructure) and, together with a number of Italian institutes and universities, they contribute to the Joint Research Programme on CCS ofEERA (European Energy Research Alliance).

CCS Project Activities   

Advanced Integrated CCS Projects   

Porto Tolle – Rovigo, Italy.  This project aims at retrofitting one of the three 660 MWe units at Enel’s Porto Tolle coal power plant with CCS. The capture part will treat flue gases corresponding to 250 MWe electrical output. Up to 1 Mt/a of CO2 will be stored in an off-shore saline aquifer. The project was awarded €100 million as part of the EEPR. Underground storage is scheduled to start in December 2015. Meanwhile, the pilot plant was commissioned and the experimental phase started in June 2010. For the Porto Tolle demo plant, four licensors have been selected to develop the FEED studies for the Carbon Capture Unit; the contracts have been awarded in August 2010 and the studies will be completed in April 2011. A saline aquifer located offshore in the northern Adriatic Sea has been selected and detailed reservoir characterization studies are being carried out.

Sulcis Project – Sardinia, Italy.  The aim of the project – at the feasibility study stage - is to build and operate a 300 MWe  power  generation  plant strictly integrated with the Sulcis coal mine and feed with at least 50% (lower heating value – LHV – basis) of local low rank coal, equipped with CO2 capture and storage sections. The plant is equipped with a post-combustion CO2 absorption system based on an aqueous solution of monoethanolamine (MEA), which treats  the  plant  flue  gas  and  operates chemical absorption of carbon dioxide at atmospheric pressure and at about 45-50°C, with a CO2 removal efficiency of about 90%. As for the CO2  geological  storage,  two different  technologies  will be employed: the storage in saline aquifers below the Sulcis coal basin and the storage through ECBM (enhanced coal bed methane) technique. The storage in the saline aquifers takes place injecting compressed  CO2  at a depth of about 1000-1200 m in the southern area of the Sulcis coal basin, where the aquifers are located. In the same area of the basin, the ECBM technique should be tested at a depth of about 800-1000 m.

Current CCS Pilot-scale Activities   

ENEL CCS1 – Post-combustion Pilot Capture Unit – Brindisi, Italy.  A first post-combustion capture project involves the construction of a pilot installation of 10,000 Nm3/h at the Brindisi Sud coal power plant.  The CO2 produced will be stored by ENI at the Cortemaggiore site.  A 0.8-MNm3/h installation will then be constructed to treat part of the flue gases of a 660 MWe unit of the Porto Tolle power plant.

ZECOMIX – Rome, Italy.  The aim of this capture-only project owned by ENEA is to study and test a zero-emission, high efficiency process producing hydrogen and electricity from coal.  It is part of “New technologies and processes for the transition towards hydrogen system,” a three-year program sponsored by the Italian government. Operation was to start in October 2010.

ISOTHERM Pwr ® Flameless Pressurized Oxy-Combustion Technology – Cerano, Italy.  This technology was developed by Enel and Itea and uses high temperatures, oxygen-enriched air and pressurization to produce a flameless oxy-combustion reaction and obtain a CO2-rich, sequestration-ready flue gas.  The technology platform is said to be ready for industrial application.  A coal application pilot will be operated, followed by a 250 MWe demonstration unit.

ENI – Feasibility Study and Pilot Project of Injection into a Depleted Hydrocarbon Field.  ENI has run various studies and preliminary evaluations as part of the design of surface infrastructure for CO2 injection and monitoring in the Cortemaggiore field (Piacenza).  ENI has also analyzed the legal and social aspects linked to the storage.  The injection of 8,000 t/a CO2 will follow over a three-year period, followed by two years of post injection monitoring.  Studies on the utilization of the CO2 will also be run in order to increase the recovery factor from Italian hydrocarbon fields.

CARBOSULCIS – Methane Recovery and CO2 Storage in the Sulcis Coal Basin – Sardinia Island, Italy.  The project has the objective of evaluating the feasibility of methane recovery (CBM) and of CO2 storage (ECBM) in vast parts of the Sulcis coal basin, in South-West Sardinia, which are not suitable for mining activities.  Once the characterization of the basin has been completed through studies, analyses of existing data and experimentation, the second stage will follow, with the aim of defining all the remaining aspects for the construction of a pilot injection and storage installation.

SOTACARBO-ENEA-REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OF SARDINIA – Realization of national zero emission technology center in Sardinia – Sardinia Island, Italy.  The initiative is part of a programme funded by Italian government and regional government of Sardinia, and has the objective of carrying out R&D activities as well as realizing pilot plants for demonstrating renewables and CCS technologies.

Concerning CCS: a) R&D activities are planned on CO2 capture and storage, and on liquid and gaseous fuels production by coal in integrated plants with CCS; b) a pilot plant will be realized, 50-80 thermal MW, equipped with capture technologies (pressurized oxyfuel) and CO2 storage.

Links to CCS-related Information in Italy   

Italy is active in European Industrial Initiative for CCS; the member State is represented by Giuseppe Girardi (member of CSLF TG as well) in the CCS EII-Team, whilst Pompilio Scaramuscio represents ENEL as member of ZEP Platform.