UKCCSRC Spring 2024 Conference – Plenary 3 – UKCCSRC & Industry Projects (ECR Meeting Fund)

Roberto Loza (Cardiff University), Fayez Qureshi (Cranfield University) and Timothy Namaswa (University of Aberdeen) share their takeaways from “Plenary session 3 – UKCCSRC funded research: Industry supported projects” at the UKCCSRC Spring 2024 Conference.

The UKCCSRC Spring Conference in Manchester brought many insights into the status of CCS in the UK, Europe and globally. In Plenary 3 we heard about completed and ongoing state-of-the-art research projects that are funded by the UKCCSRC. It is great to see how much can be done when supporting ECRs!

Fugitive amine scrubbing using electrostatic precipitation

Dr Peter Clough from Cranfield University, now working for the company ERM, gave an insightful talk about amine scrubbing. ERM has a wide experience supporting industrial communities in developing decarbonisation strategies and roadmaps. They are the world’s largest pure play sustainability consultancy.

Interesting research was carried out about amine scrubbing using electrostatic precipitation (ESP) process. There are various filtration mechanisms present, but the idea was to have capture mechanisms in flue gases that must limit the pressure drop. A few options listed can be activated carbon/sorbent bed, chemical scrubbing, water wash and electrostatic precipitation of aerosols.

An electrostatic precipitator (ESP) removes particles from a gas stream by using electrical energy to charge particles either positively or negatively. This has advantages such as minimal pressure drop, high collection efficiency, manageable energy demands and no replenishment resource demands. Peter’s research involved the design and modelling of different amines, highlighting some practical issues. His work found that 39% water was captured when applying 10 kV as compared to 28% without voltage, showing a better capture performance of amine ESP with higher voltage.

His future work will be to investigate the effect of operating parameters – electric field strength, distance, temperature, concentration and particle size, hopefully supported by industry.

Identifying the subsurface microbial response to CO2 storage conditions within depleted oilfield systems

Leanne Walker from the University of Manchester presented an interesting research project, unveiling unexpected insights into the effects of CO2 injection on subsurface microbial communities within depleted oilfields. Contrary to prevailing assumptions, her findings indicate that the introduction of high concentrations of CO2 does not lead to a collapse in microbial diversity or functional potential. Instead, her experiments demonstrate a significant population shift within the microbial community. This suggests a resilient and adaptable response to the altered subsurface conditions resulting from CO2 injection.

This research provides an understanding of the complex interactions between CO2 storage and subsurface microbial ecology. Leanne Walker’s conclusions offer valuable implications for future carbon management strategies, highlighting the need to consider the dynamic nature of microbial communities in depleted oilfield environments when designing and implementing CO2 storage initiatives.

Her future work will focus on developing biotechnological tools to identify problematic microbes and collaborating with ExxonMobil to repeat experiments using diverse oil and gas produced waters.

Post-Combustion Capture – Cost and Residual Emission Reduction (PCC – CARER)

Daniel Mullen presented the results of research funded by the UKCCSRC and industry project partners (SSE Thermal and Bechtel). His research aims to better predict and model the process of ultra-high CO2 capture levels with low energy inputs. Multiple tests were performed using the unique amine capture plant at the Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC) at the University of Sheffield.

Daniel’s research discovered a consistent inflexion point for capture levels of 95% and above as the stripper pressure increased, creating contrasting “good” and “bad” scenarios (Fig. 2).

The takeaways from his talk are that (1) pressure is a critical factor for achieving lean loadings at reasonable energy inputs, (2) liquid flow to the stripper no higher than the energy available can strip to the required lean loading, and (3) some flexibility in lean loading should be considered if it is above the inflection point and higher than required for the capture level.