UKCCSRC Spring 2023 Conference – Parallel 1b “CO2 Storage” (ECR Meeting Fund)

Aylin Kemal (Cranfield University), Lingyun Zhang (University of Nottingham) and Sunera Athauda (Cranfield University) provide this great summary of Parallel session 1b on “CO2 Storage” at the UKCCSRC Spring 2023 Conference on “CCS from geographically dispersed industries”.

Whilst the torrential rain battering the city of Cardiff may have given a feeling of gloominess, the future of CCUS has never been brighter with the UKCCSRC Spring Conference 2023 beginning with an air of optimism, as the UK Government announced £20bn support for CCUS Research, Development and Deployment over the next 20 years.

We had the pleasure of attending the parallel session discussing ‘CO2 Sourcing’, with Professor Claire Bond from the University of Aberdeen delivering the first presentation on ‘CO2 Storage Research Facility’ (CSRF), an organisation established by UKRI and headed by its Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Its mission statement is – The creation of a novel and world-leading geological CO2 storage facility for research in addition to the development of pioneering technologies, as per the advice of the wider community.

She highlighted the strides taken in Phase 1 of the scoping study during the period of 2020-2022, for the aforementioned research facility, culminating in the British Geological Survey report. That detailed wide interest and engagement from various stakeholder organizations and identification of key objectives such as evolving in-situ monitoring for permanent containment and development of procedures for estimation, confirmation, and optimisation of storage and potential failure scenarios for, for example, deep well onshore – offshore storage facilities. The currently ongoing Phase 2 of the scoping study (2022-2024) aims to deliver a business case for infrastructure funding to enable CSRF to advance their wider objectives of establishing the UK’s reputation as a global force in R&D, aid the UK’s net-zero CO2 target by 2050, development of regulatory frameworks and, essentially, wider discourse with the public.

The next speaker was Professor Vahid Niasar who is the Chair of Subsurface Engineering and Porous Media Physics at the University of Manchester. His research interests include multi-phase flow, reactive transport, hydrogeology, carbon capture and storage, underground hydrogen storage, and modeling of electrochemical systems. At the conference, he mainly talked about the effects of hydrodynamic dispersion and geochemistry in carbonate aquifers and explored the experimental geochemical reaction rate during CCS. The multicomponent reactive density-driven CO2 flow in deep saline aquifers coupled with hydrodynamic dispersion and a set of carbonate geochemical reactions were simulated. Furthermore, the presence of hydrodynamic dispersion was shown to increase the amount of dissolved carbon in all mixing regimes. Such a phenomenon destabilizes the diffusive front and results in earlier dominance of convection in the process.

Finally, rock dissolution was shown to be the dominant mechanism in reactive CO2 convection in carbonate aquifers. While such a mechanism decreased the amount of stored carbon in the diffusion dominant regime, it simulated the convection onset and the amount of the total flux after the onset time.

Chris Holdsworth is a final year Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh where he is testing the use of natural isotope tracers in verifying CO2 storage in geological reservoirs. His work mainly focuses on Carbfix, an Icelandic CO2 mineral storage company, testing natural geochemical tracers on active CCS and CDR projects operated by Carbfix in Iceland. In this conference, he talked about the cardfix-CO2 and H2S mineralization during 3.5 years of continuous injection into basaltic rocks at more than 250oC. The coda terminal by Carbfix includes CO2 capture sector, transport sector, CO2 offloading and conditioning sector, CO2 injection sector, and mineral storage sector. As the coda terminal, the preparing and design stage was from 2008, the commercialization stage from 2014, and 2022 to the future is the technology deployment stage, which is a process that moves from desk to Mt and the cost of CCS can achieve $25/t CO2.

The last speaker was Dr Gang Wang who is a Leverhulme early career fellow at Herriot-Watt University. His research was about the synergy between carbon capture storage and large-scale hydrogen storage. His research includes the energy demand in the UK and linking with renewable energy sources, focusing on wind energy production. At the conference, he mainly talked about cushion gas which includes carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen, and looked for a relation with the carbon capture storage concept. The highlighted note from his presentation was the design of cushion gas. A two-stage cushion gas injection strategy improves the purity of produced hydrogen. A high concentration of hydrogen accumulated in the neat-wellbore zone is the key.