Global CCS Institute Engages Mexico’s Decision-Makers on Carbon Capture

On 11 and 12 October, the Institute’s Senior Consultant in Public and Community Engagement, Kirsty Anderson, and Policy Consultant, Natalia Sharova, were invited by the Mexican Secretariat of Energy (SENER) to make a return visit to Mexico City with the Institute’s CO2degrees Education Challenge.

Mexico is a country with a growing energy demand that relies heavily on fossil fuels in its current energy mix, but it is also a country taking active steps to reduce emissions and create a much more sustainable energy future. Mexico has been working hard to develop a fit-for-purpose legal and regulatory framework and even a pilot carbon market system to support this sustainable future vision. Alongside these major initiatives, the country is also investing substantial time and energy into building capacity with both current and future decision makers, scientists and engineers. The Institute has been delighted to support some of these impressive awareness-raising and capacity-building activities.

Hon. Gina Trujillo and Deputy Secretary Leonardo Beltran welcome the Global CCS Institute to Mexico City.

Left to right: Natalia Sharova, Leonardo Beltran (SENER), Gina Trujillo (Mexican Congress), Kirsty Anderson.

Photo credit: Benjamin Heras Cruz (SEMARNAT)

Following the success of last year’s training with Science Centers and other interested communicators from Mexican industry and government departments, Kirsty and Natalia returned, armed with a battery of ‘Kitchen Cupboard’ science experiments and all the latest updates on carbon capture, to hold two workshops, one for top decision-makers within the Mexican Congress and one for the Mexican Secretariat of Energy (SENER) staff and industry representatives.

The first workshop took place at the San Lazaro Congress, Mexico City, and attracted nearly 40 officials from Mexico’s legislature. The event was hosted and welcomed by Hon Gina Trujillo, a State Senator for Tabasco – an area known not just for the spicy sauce exported overseas, but also for operating one of the most active oil and gas industries in the country.

After performing an official inauguration of the workshop, Leonardo Beltran, Deputy Secretary for Energy Planning and Transition at the Mexican Secretariat of Energy, provided an overview of Mexico’s clean energy reform, and discussed the focus of the current government on decarbonising the economy while ensuring energy supply. Mr Beltran noted Mexico’s current high dependency on fossil fuels, but added that oil and natural gas use can also be sustainable. The Deputy Secretary emphasised the significant role carbon capture, utilisation and storage had to play in meeting the country’s CO2 reduction goals while providing abundant and clean energy to the people of Mexico.

Natalia Sharova providing an overview of the global status of CCS.

Photo credit: Benjamin Heras Cruz (SEMARNAT)

Updating on the status of CCS globally, Natalia informed both workshops of the recent successes in CCS facilities across the world, with the triple launch of Al Reyadah, Illinois Industrial, and Petra Nova. Natalia used these three facilities to emphasise the versatility of CCUS, but also to highlight the urgent need to implement CCS-supportive policies in order to accelerate deployment of carbon capture facilities around the world.

Kirsty Anderson with the experimental toolkit for the CO2degrees workshop.

Finally, each workshop closed on a chocolate high, as Kirsty led a high-energy walk through a selection of the CO2degrees hands-on experiments that we have used across the world to improve understanding of energy, climate change and CCS/CCUS technology. The experiments help people to visualise the often-misunderstood parts of the CCS/CCUS chain and use familiar, everyday materials to teach about the different processes involved in CCS and to help explain the climate change and energy challenges that we are trying to address through this important mitigation technology.

On 12 October, a similar workshop was held at the SENER building for a wider audience that included staff from the Mexican Secretariat of Energy (SENER) and Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), representatives from National Institute of Electricity and Clean Energy (INEEL) and from National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), Mexican Geology Survey (SGM), members of academia, students, and industry representatives such as CEMEX and Shell.

Volunteers participate in an experiment to explore how CO2 is captured (the Create and Capture CO2 experiment).

Both events received enthusiastic and positive responses from attendees and led to extensive Q&A sessions. The events were recorded and broadcasted on the national television, and helped to build awareness and understanding of CCS/CCUS amongst policymakers, industry, and academia in Mexico.

From left to right (clockwise): State Senator Sharon Maria Ayala, State Senator Gina Trujillo, Natalia Sharova, Kirsty Anderson, Leonardo Beltran (SENER), Efrain Arcos (SENER).

Photo credit: Benjamin Heras Cruz (SEMARNAT)