Reporting from the FleCCSnet Workshop on 30 April

Written by Alasdair Bruce, PhD student at University of Edinburgh contributing to UKCCSRC Call 1 Project: Flexible CCS Network Development (FleCCSnet)

The Flexible CCS Network Development (FleCCSnet) workshop was held on the 30 April 2014 at the University of Edinburgh, UK. It was the first of two workshops aimed to bring together leading industrialists and academic experts to discuss future scenarios of flexible CCS networks. Future CCS pipeline networks are likely to be expected to transport and accommodate daily and seasonal variations in CO2 flows from a portfolio of power plants and industrial sources equipped with CO2 capture technologies to offshore geological storage sites. One development scenario is that initially CO2 networks will be designed to meet the site specific and design constraints of anchor projects (large CO2 sources that need to have relatively large flows of CO2 transported to safe storage). Over time, it is likely that a range of CO2 capture technologies, of different sizes and fuel sources, will be integrated into the network. In addition, geological storage sites will likely have varying surface injection pressures and operating routines, imposing further constraints on the transportation network. It is therefore important to understand the potential evolution and expansion of the CCS chain, the implications to the CO2 pipeline network, and the variable and transient flows of CO2 that may exist under different pipeline network scenarios.

The event was well attended with a good mixture from industry and academia. The organisations in attendance were Parsons Brinkerhoff, Scottish Power, Element Energy, BP, AMEC, SCCS, Newcastle University, and the University of Edinburgh. The workshop allowed academics and industrialists to discuss and critically assess realistic pipeline network scenarios and understand other important factors that will affect the operation and design of future flexible CO2 networks.

The morning session started with an overview of the FleCCSnet project from Eva Sanchez followed by a discussion of the critical variables that will impact the CO2 flow profile along the CCS chain. Some of the critical variables include the fuel and size of the base power plant or industry source, the capture technology, the delivery CO2 pressure over time, and the number of wells. It was reaffirmed from many of the industry attendees that CCS network scenarios should first consider the boundary conditions and operating requirements at the storage end of the CCS chain, for a variety of injection and storage site characteristics. It is also important to understand any minimum flow rate limitations, maximum O2 content, response time of pipeline network and buffering capability, well maintenance schedules, well shut-down procedures.  Other important factors are power plant planned and unplanned outages, and the financial arrangements of potential networks.

In the afternoon session, industry and academic experts discussed the realistic CO2 transport network scenarios that should be investigated in order to provide detailed design and operating guidelines for future flexible CCS clusters. There was enthusiastic and interactive discussion between attendees. The discussion highlighted that it will be important to ensure high network reliability in all modelled scenarios and that it is also important to select a range of representative source and storage sites. More practical issues were also highlighted, such as, a maximum onshore pipeline diameter of 48” should be assumed. However, many more technical and economic aspects of future CCS networks were discussed. So, if you want to know more about the FleCCSnet research project then please do not hesitate to contact the project team for further information.