This diverse session was comprised of three talks, covering issues related to the transport of CO2, the economics of investing in low carbon technologies and the flexibility of the whole CCS network. The session was attended by approximately 20 researchers, including a handful of early career researchers.
Dr Jie Ke, standing in for Prof Mike George, kicked off the session with a presentation titled ‘Measurement of water solubility limits of CO2 mixtures to underpin the safe pipeline transportation of CO2’. The talk was centred around measurements of the solubility of water in the CO2 phase at a range of pressures and with varying levels of impurities. The water contained in the CO2 phase can increase the level of corrosion within CO2 pipelines, and is therefore an important parameter to understand. This work was made possible by the high pressure facilities available at the University of Nottingham. The results of this work showed that small levels of impurities (e.g. N2) can decrease the solubility of water in the CO2 phase, highlighting the need to monitor the composition of the CO2 stream in these pipelines carefully.
The second talk was given by Prof David Newbery, entitled ‘Evaluating spill-over benefits from low-carbon energy investments’. This presentation discussed the economic case for subsidising low carbon technology, using photovoltaic (PV) cells and CCS as case studies. Looking at the case of PV cells, David explained how investment in a technology can decrease the costs for subsequent investors. The cost of PV cells has dropped by 20 % for every doubling of capacity, which has had a significant effect on the cost of the technology, particularly in the early stages of its development. However, while this effect has been seen in CCS, the level of cost reduction has not been at the same rate as for PV cells.
The final talk of the session was given by Ben Wetenhall, entitled ‘Flexible CCS network development (FleCCSnet)’. This presentation explored the flexibility available across the whole CCS chain and how variations in CO2 flow rate over different timescales might affect the system. For example, due to decreasing costs of wind and solar power, a CCS adapted power plant might not be required to be at full capacity all the time, and so the supply of CO2 to the CCS chain might not be constant. Ben showed that modelling of this scenario suggests that the efficiency of chain can be maintained despite these complications, but that maintaining a constant CO2 flow rate through the pipeline is easier if more CO2 sources are connected to the network.