UKCCSRC Spring 2023 Conference – Parallel 2b “CO2 Transportation” (ECR Meeting Fund)

Siqi Wang (Cranfield University) and Ziqi Shen (Cranfield University) share details of Parallel session 2b “CO2 Transportation” at the UKCCSRC Spring 2023 Conference on “CCS from geographically dispersed industries”.

We began Day 2 of the Conference with three parallel sessions. In Session 2b, chaired by Dr Ben Wetenhall, three speakers from diverse academic backgrounds presented their recent works and their insights on challenges related to CO2 transportation.

The first presentation, given by Dr Muir Freer from the University of Manchester, was about the application of CCS technologies through cement production for infrastructure in the UK. Their work is to determine carbon-optimal and fiscally optimal integration pathways, network flexibility, integration vulnerabilities and integration opportunities starting from cement and lime facilities. These two models mainly include HGV, rail, shipping and pipeline. They simulated the integration of different types of transportation and the integration of decarbonised fuels or the impacts of variable fuel supply from external factors for different sites. The results showed the great flexibility of the cement CCS network, and it was critical to consider the mixture of pipeline and non-pipeline transportation methods. Also, different clusters across the country will need to cooperate. The threats and opportunities co-existed for both scenarios, and the balance of rigidity and flexibility within the CCS network will be the key factor that successful connections could be achievable.

The second presentation, titled “The Status and Challenges of CO2 Shipping Infrastructures”, was by Dr Jasmin Kemper, the Technical Programme Technical Advisor at IEAGHG. As industrial-scale CCS continues to take place, efficient transportation of captured CO2 to secure geological storage sites is required. Shipping offers a more flexible and economic alternative to pipeline networks as it requires lower upfront costs and covers a wider geographic range. A report commissioned by Element Energy and published by IEAGHG in July 2020 presents results from the assessment of the status, costs and challenges of CO2 shipping infrastructure. Some of the main conclusions drawn from the study include:

  • The transport condition of CO2 affects many components of the shipping chain.
  • Further investigation into offshore unloading is necessary.
  • Batch-wise injection presents challenges for offshore unloading via direct injection.
  • An undiscounted unit cost of €30 – 40 /tCO2 is projected for CCS shipping chains in Europe.
  • The majority of the cost is made up of liquefaction and ship costs.
  • Increasing ship capacity and/or unloading rate reduces costs only if the number of ships in the chain can be reduced.
  • The breakeven distance at which shipping becomes cost-competitive with pipelines depends on the flow rate and pressurisation state of the inlet CO2

The final presentation was by Dr Julia Race from the University of Strathclyde, where she talked about “Characterisation of UK Industrial Clusters and Techno-Economic Cost Assessment for CO2 Transport and Storage Implementation”.

In the model developed by Dr Race and her team, three types of scenario design were proposed for the transportation of CO2 from industrial clusters:

  • “Each to their own”, where every emitter builds a separate onshore pipeline to the coast. Although this is the least risky option, it is considered impractical due to the size of the required infrastructure and the permissions and rights of way that would need to be acquired.
  • “Build it and they will come”, where a central pipeline is built, into which all of the emitters feed. In this scenario, the main pipeline would need to be oversized to accommodate increasing demand.
  • “Early adopter/collaborator” is a halfway house scenario between the first two. It reduces the risk of the early adopter being left stranded with an oversized pipeline, but will also be likely to be more expensive than scenario 2.

Following a thorough cost analysis of the CO2 Transport & Storage (T&S) OPEX and CAPEX, it is concluded that understanding the size of the transport and storage (T&S) sector, and the investment required, is essential. The investment and rollout of the CO2 T&S industry are likely to trigger a sustained wider economy expansion, and the matter of “who pays” (government, UK households, or the polluter) is vital to ensure the utilisation of capacity.