Interview with Nikolaos Koukouzas
Coordinator of the EFG Panel of Experts on CCS
EFG’s Panels of Experts (PE) have been set up to provide high quality advice and information to the European institutions, to international NGO’s and to other global professional associations. EFG has currently 10 Panels of Experts active in the fields of CCS, Education, Geological Heritage, Geotechnics, Geothermal Energy, Hydrogeology, Natural Hazards, Minerals, Oil & Gas and Soil Protection. The Panels involve more than 200 voluntary experts from over 20 different countries and all aim at emphasising the importance of geology to society, the benefits of incorporating geological advice and to promote the importance of the geoscientific profession.
To raise awareness about the existence of these Panels of Experts, EFG is presenting its coordinators in an interview series. In March 2020, we have talked to Nikolaos Koukouzas, the coordinator of the Panel on CCS.
Coordinator of the EFG Panel of Experts on CCS since November 2019
Nikolaos Koukouzas holds a PhD and an MSc, both awarded by the University of Leicester, England. He has studied geology at the University of Athens and is nowadays Director of Research at the CERTH/CPERI in Athens. He looks back on a career of more than 25 years of experience in industrial mineral applications, raw materials, mining, power production and co-combustion of coal. He is the coordinator of the emissions and CO2 related COALBYPRO project, a professor at the University of Athens and Air Force Academy and Detached Expert at DG Energy (European Commission).
About your field of expertise:
Could you explain in simple words what is meant by CCS?
CCS means Carbon Capture and Storage, and results from the necessity to mitigate CO2 emissions. CCS is the technology which captures CO2 from emitters such as power plants and stores it in geological formations.
What is the current situation of CCS development in Europe?
CCS has been developed in Norway (Sleipner, Snohvit, etc), in the Netherlands and in the UK. Other countries such as Spain, France and Italy have developed pilot plants, and CO2 monitoring sites. However, all European countries are involved in CCS research projects related to capture, transportation and storage.
Why is it important to advance research in this domain?
Research in CCS will provide the necessary tools to advance in CCS technologies in order to mitigate CO2 emissions. Ultimately, this is part of the Green Deal and climate change mitigation measures.
How do you see the future role of geoscientists in your field of expertise, for example 20 years ahead from now?
The role of geoscientist on CCS will be very crucial taking into account that CCS is evolving very fast in those technologies. Expertise such as geological modelling, geophysics, geochemistry and reservoir engineering are required if we want to progress into that front to tackle climate change efficiently.
About your Panel of Experts:
Which role can the EFG Panel of Experts on CCS play in the current EU policy context?
The EFG Panel of Experts on CCS may play an important role in the current EU policy context by developing geological information, modelling and knowledge to promote CCS technologies. The EU policy referring to the Green Deal is in accordance to CCS as there is a need to decrease CO2 emissions.
How would you define the added value of collaborating with experts from different European countries?
Cooperation with European experts from different countries provides an added value to our EFG Panel of Experts. Let me point out that CCS technologies need expertise and cooperation with many geologists from different countries.
What is your Panel of Experts currently working on? What are your further plans for 2020?
The Panels of Experts on CCS is composed of Glen Burridge, Nick O’Neill, Federico Spagnoli, Kris Welkenhuysen, Nuno da Silva, Gyorgy Falus, Juan Alonso Aparte, Car Marjeta and Kris Piessens.
We have started elaborating activities with the Kick off Meeting in February 2020 and we are planning to further cooperate by emails, meetings and possible participations in workshops and conferences.
Is there anything EFG can do to support your Panel of Experts?
EFG can provide support to meet members of the European Parliament or international organisations.
Your Panel involves less women than men and in general women are underrepresented in the STEM sector. What needs to be done to improve the gender balance in earth sciences?
Women are strongly encouraged to apply for membership through their NAs.
Since when do you lead your Panel of Experts?
Since November 2019
What inspired you to become a geologist? Why did you choose the field of CCS?
My father was a geologist and my true inspiration at many levels. I love to work in the field, to collect samples, make analysis and try to understand the mechanisms that control the behaviour of our planet.
CCS is a multidisciplinary subject and combines different fields of geology such as mineralogy, geochemistry, and geological modelling where I used to work during my PhD studies and my professional career.
What do you currently do in your job?
My current position is Director of Research in the Centre for Research and Technology (CERTH) in Greece, where I coordinate several EU funded research projects on CCS, geology, geochemistry, mineralogy and mining. I am also Director of the Solid Fuels Laboratory in our Research Centre. I represent Greece in the Government Group of Zero Emissions Power Plants, the European Research Alliance on CCS, the Executive Committee of EURACOAL, and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) which is an international organisation lead by US Dept. of Energy on CCS. I am also member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, and the International Magazine dedicated to CCS.