CO2 transportation for carbon capture and storage: Sublimation of carbon dioxide from a dry ice bank

Climate change is being caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is of interest to the scientific community as one way of achieving significant global reductions of atmospheric CO2 emissions in the medium term. CO2 would be captured from large stationary sources such as power plants and transported via pipelines under high pressure conditions to underground storage. If a downward leakage from a surface transportation system module occurs, the CO2 would undergo a large temperature reduction and form a bank of “dry ice” on the ground surface; the sublimation of the gas from this bank represents an area source term for subsequent atmospheric dispersion, with an emission rate dependent on the energy balance at the bank surface. Gaseous CO2 is denser than air and tends to remain close to the surface; it is an asphyxiant, a cerebral vasodilator and at high concentrations causes rapid circulatory insufficiency leading to coma and death. Hence a subliming bank of dry ice represents safety hazard. A model is presented for evaluating the energy balance and sublimation rate at the surface of a solid frozen CO2 bank under different environmental conditions. The results suggest that subliming gas behaves as a proper dense gas (i.e. it remains close to the ground surface) only for low ambient wind speeds.