CO2 release to inform CCS studies

THE world’s largest release of carbon dioxide from an underwater pipeline is planned for early next year, in an effort to better understand factors in developing offshore CO2 pipelines, which will be a vital piece of the puzzle for carbon capture and storage projects.

Haydn Black

To fully understand the environmental and safety implications associated with the development of CO2 pipelines, DNV GL has teamed up with Norway’s Gassnova, Brazil’s Petrobras, the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, the UK’s National Grid and Eni to undertake the research.

The research will see the release of the CO2 from a specially-built pipeline at DNV GL’s Spadeadam testing centre in the United Kingdom.

It is the second experimental phase and will run for three months, involving releases in a 40m diameter 12m-deep pond at Spadeadam in January.

“This is the largest experimental investigation to date of underwater CO2 releases which will study the effects of depth on measured and observed parameters,“ DNV GL vice president of safety and risk Gary Tomlin said.

“The testing is designed around what is already known about underwater methane leaks and the possible occurrence of CO2 hydrates collecting on pipework.

“By using high-speed, underwater cameras and other measurement techniques, we can examine the configuration and characteristics of the released gas. It will allow us to see whether it reaches the surface and analyse what happens.”

The installation of offshore CO2 pipelines linked to depleted subsea gas reservoirs is a possible solution to mitigate CO2 emissions from power plants and large industrial sources.

The transportation of CO2 through offshore pipelines may also increase due to enhanced oil recovery programs.

The first phase of experiments underway at Spadeadam involves small-scale, controlled CO2 releases from a three inch pipeline in a 8.5m diameter, 3m deep water tank and are expected to be completed by December.

Spadeadam is one of a network of 18 laboratories and testing centres operated by DNV GL on three continents, each designed to undertake full-scale fire, explosion and release experiments, to demonstrate whether equipment and components are fit for purpose, to test new products, techniques or processes, and to provide data to validate computer models

DNV GL and its partners hope the work will help the CCS industry establish itself as the rollout of carbon abatement technology begins.

The data gathered from the large-scale experimental program should enable adjustments to be made to computer modelling of CO2 dispersion.

Even larger-scale, controlled testing in the natural environment may eventually take place, although CO2 testing at Spadeadam will conclude by June 2016.

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