This blog was written by Charlotte Mitchell, a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, who received funding from the ECR Meeting Fund to attend the UKCCSRC Autumn 2017 Biannual Meeting in Sheffield on 11th and 12th September.
The first Transport and Storage parallel session on 12th September was chaired by Professor Andy Chadwick and three researchers presented some of their recent work. The opening speaker was Dr Anatoliy Vorobev of the University of Southampton, who talked about the ‘Thermo- and Hydrodynamics of Slowly Miscible Interfaces’. He likened this work to studying the behaviour of a honey droplet in a teacup and explained that this was valuable to the understanding of CO2 mixing with oil in the enhanced oil recovery process and to the study of enhanced aquifer remediation. Anatoliy described his experiments and how he used them to create a mathematical phase field model to describe mixing behaviour which was able to closely replicate the results of other experiments.
Dr Jerome Neufeld then gave a presentation titled ‘Migration of CO2 through North Sea Geological Carbon Storage Sites: Impact of Faults, Geological Heterogeneities and Dissolution.’ This is also the title of a NERC consortium grant awarded to the University of Strathclyde, Imperial College London, the British Geological Survey and the University of Cambridge, where Jerome works. Before talking about his own research, he gave an overview of the activities of the other institutions under the grant. Jerome then presented his work on modelling fluid mixing patterns from which he had developed new scaling rules for several parameters and a new model for end-state mixing. Lastly, Jerome presented new dynamic models of gravity currents in the Sleipner gas field in the North Sea, where the first operational CO2 storage site is located.
The last person to speak was Professor Haroun Mahgerefteh of University College London, who presented ‘The Development and Demonstration of Best Practice Guidelines for the Safe Start-up Injection of CO2 into Depleted Gas Fields’. Haroun explained that careful management of these injection sites is required as the pressure drop between the top and bottom of the well causes injected CO2 to expand. This expansion results in cooling of the CO2 to as low as -70OC, which leads to several adverse effects, including thermal stress shocking and the formation of ice and hydrates which cause blockages. He then described his model of the Goldeneye injection well, intended for use in the Peterhead project. The model predicted the temperature and pressure of CO2 throughout the well and was able to demonstrate that fast ramping of CO2 flowrates resulted in less cooling. Whilst these conclusions are specific to the Goldeneye site, the model is a useful process design tool that can be employed to mitigate the aforementioned issues of CO2 injection.
Overall, the three presentations highlighted some important developments made by UKCCSRC members towards improving the understanding of CO2 mixing behaviour and storage. As I currently have limited experience of the transport and storage side of CCS, I found the presentations and resulting discussions very useful and was able to gain a better appreciation of what some of the area’s key issues are.