New research consortium promises ground-breaking research into CO2 storage

Imperial will act as the UK lead partner for ELEGANCY, a new international research consortium focused on enabling a low-carbon economy.

ELEGANCY is a research project involving consortia from the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, supported by ACT (Accelerating CCS Technologies, an ERA NET Cofund) and national governments, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the UK. Imperial College London, the UK lead partner in ELEGANCY, will be working with the British Geological Survey, Scottish Enterprise and INEOS Chemicals Grangemouth Ltd.

Working towards a low-carbon economy

As the only technology that can substantially reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be essential if the UK is to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. CCS is also the only means of achieving deep emissions cuts in industries such as steel, cement and petrochemicals.

However, there is a large disconnect between policy ambitions and technology readiness, and industrial uptake. This is mainly due to the lack of a business model: costs are immediate, but the benefits are long term. Similarly, the introduction of hydrogen (H2) as a low-carbon fuel for heating, cooling, transport and industrial processes has been slower than desired. However, as the natural gas (NG) reforming for H2production also produces CO2 using existing or new processes, this can provide the economic driver needed to fast-track commercial deployment of CCS.

Goals and objectives

The ELEGANCY project has three key objectives:

1) to facilitate decarbonisation of power, heating and transport based on an existing fuel and infrastructure

2) to develop a commercial model for industrial CCS

3) to broaden public awareness of CCS

ELEGANCY includes consideration of large-scale CO2 transport and storage infrastructure for use by other sectors, as well as infrastructure for the rapid introduction of H2 as an energy carrier, thus also opening the door for H2 generated from spare capacity in renewable sources.

It will also enable Europe to export extensive knowledge, products and technologies worldwide. ELEGANCY will apply its research findings, technologies and tools to five national case studies in order to identify cost-effective opportunities for H2-CCS for each country represented in the project, providing key input for policy makers. ELEGANCY partners are world leaders in their respective fields, comprising not only highly-respected research institutions and legal experts, but technology vendors, NG grid operators and international energy and petrochemical companies.

Within ELEGANCY, Imperial will contribute ground-breaking new research in CO2 storage, developing an open-source modelling framework for the design and evaluation of integrated H2-CCS chains, and applying the research findings to a detailed national case study. The research will be carried out by a multi-disciplinary team led by Professor Martin Trusler, Professor Nilay Shah, Dr Ronny Pini (Department of Chemical Engineering), Dr Sam Krevor (Department of Earth Science and Engineering) and Dr Niall Mac Dowell (Centre for Environmental Policy). 

This article was taken from the Imperial College London website