UKCCSRC Knowledge Exchange Conference – Parallel 2a: CO2 Transportation (ECR Meeting Fund)

Briggs Ogunedo (Cranfield University) shares his takeaways from “Parallel 2a: CO2 Transportation, including shipping and pipeline” at the UKCCSRC Knowledge Exchange Conference 2023.

The realm of CO2 transportation is undergoing continuous evolution in response to the global efforts to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, at the UKCCSRC’s Knowledge Exchange Conference, significant attention was dedicated to the topic of CO2 transportation, encompassing both shipping and pipeline methods. Three distinguished speakers shared their insights with the audience on various aspects, including planning CO2 transport infrastructure under uncertain conditions, predicting the behaviour of impure fluid CO2 to enhance cost-effectiveness, safety, and flow assurance in CCUS pipelines, and adopting an industrial approach to achieve a net-zero terminal and facilitate CO2 shipping within the Milford Haven Waterway.

The first presenter, Lihan Zhang, from The University of Edinburgh, devised a customized scenario tree designed for a CO2 capture project. This tree was then employed within a multi-stage stochastic programming model, providing valuable insights into decision-making across various phases of the project. This inventive approach considers potential project shutdown scenarios, such as those caused by financial constraints or equipment failures, as well as scenarios for project restoration, where operations can be resumed after a closure. Furthermore, the model operates under the assumption that CO2 capture levels in each scenario will eventually stabilize without requiring additional infrastructure development.

This long-term perspective on the consequences of early-stage decisions forms a fundamental part of the model’s framework. It encompasses multiple objectives, primarily aimed at minimizing infrastructure and transportation costs while penalizing insufficient transportation capacity. In instances where the penalty cost, set at £5 per ton of CO2, exceeds a predefined threshold, indicating a significant economic impact resulting from unmet transportation requirements, the model initiates infrastructure development in the initial project stage. This innovative approach adeptly balances the crucial objectives of cost reduction and meeting transportation demands, thereby contributing to the formulation of sustainable decision-making strategies for the project.

During his presentation, the second speaker, Richard Graham, from the University of Nottingham, introduced an advanced modelling approach for predicting the physical properties of impure CO2 based on first principles. This innovative methodology has the capability to autonomously generate highly accurate and reliable forecasts, thus reducing the need for input from experimental data and potentially decreasing reliance on physical experiments. Notably, the model successfully produced a practical equation of state directly, as exemplified by recent predictions concerning CO2-Argon mixtures. These predictions maintain their validity up to critical density levels and exhibit an impressive alignment with experimental findings across a wide spectrum of physical properties. Additionally, the speaker illustrated the extensibility of these predictive models to cover higher density ranges, accommodate various impurities, address multicomponent mixtures and encompass a more comprehensive range of physical properties.

During the final presentation, Simon Ames, from Dragon Energy, introduced the audience to a significant collaboration between Dragon Energy and RWE Pembroke power station. This collaboration is focused on maximizing decarbonization opportunities and achieving a net-zero terminal in the Milford Haven region. The project, known as the Multi Utility Service Transit (MUST), aims to leverage low-temperature heat from Pembroke Power Station’s cooling circuits to support LNG regasification processes. This strategic move is anticipated to result in a substantial reduction of CO2 emissions, potentially reaching 245,000 tonnes per year by displacing natural gas usage. Additionally, the project includes the extension of an existing jetty, which helps minimize shoreline impact and provides a dedicated berth for CO2 shipping operations. Furthermore, Dragon Energy aims to utilize this project to transport gaseous CO2 generated from industrial carbon capture processes to liquefaction and export facilities at Dragon LNG. This initiative has the potential to handle up to 5,000,000 tonnes of CO2 annually, making a significant contribution to emissions reduction efforts in the UK.

The importance of efficient CO2 transportation in achieving a net-zero goal and addressing the challenges of climate change cannot be overstated. This was a recurring theme reiterated by all the speakers during the parallel session, sparking extensive discussions on inventive strategies for achieving the most effective and efficient methods of CO2 transportation. Furthermore, a noteworthy trend observed throughout the session, as is customary at UKCCSRC conferences, was the collaboration and exchange of knowledge between industry experts and researchers. This collaboration remains a crucial step that will profoundly influence the success of CCS in the coming decade.