Richard Porter – an ECR in Canada

This blog was provided by Richard Porter, University of Leeds, whose visit to the University of Calgary was supported by the UKCCSRC ECR International Exchange Fund.

Having previously hosted a visit by Ehsan Mostafavi, a PhD student from the Energy and Environment Research Group (EERG), University of Calgary, at our department, the Energy Technology & Innovation Initiative (ETII), University of Leeds, the ECR International Exchange Fund from the UKCCSRC provided an ideal opportunity for us to follow through with a research collaboration covering mutual interests on gasification kinetics. There is currently a high level of academic activity on CCS in Canada with the country having a Carbon Tax in place and a number of active large scale CCS projects such as the recently opened Boundary Dam post-combustion capture demonstration project run by SaskPower.

Calgary is located on the prairies just to the east of the Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta, which is rich in oil and gas – as such Calgary is sometimes referred to as the “Dallas of the North”. Interest in CCS is strong here as a means of carbon offsetting and for the use of CO2 in enhanced oil recovery projects. The University of Calgary campus is located in the Northwest of the city and is relatively young having been built in the 60s. The climate here experiences long hours of sunshine but also large and rapid swings of temperature, going from warm summer to a snow storm on consecutive days while I was there.

The EERG is part of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at UofC and is directed by Dr. Nader Mahinpey. EERG’s main focus of research is Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and their laboratories are equipped with a range of experimental facilities including a fixed bed tubular reactor for investigating pyrolysis and gasification of biomass and coal blends. The topic of my research collaboration was the development of numerical models for gasification reaction kinetics, where high temperature steam is used to gasify biomass or blends with coal. Also added to the process are particle sorbents of calcium oxide which capture CO2 generated during the process. The reaction models therefore aim to describe all the aspects of the chemistry. The work has helped to further understand the underlying reaction chemistry and future collaborations with EERG are envisaged.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the UKCCSRC for providing the funding to make the research visit possible and would highly recommend other ECRs to apply for the international exchange fund.