On the variability of CO2 feed flows into CCS transportation and storage networks

The flexible operation of CO2 injection wells presents significant challenges. To avoid premature degradation of wells or loss of integrity it is imperative to understand the feed flow patterns that future CO2 transportation and storage networks will face. We use a unit commitment economic dispatch (UCED) model to study CCS operating regimes in low carbon energy systems scenarios that are characterised by high shares of weather dependent renewable power generation. Using the case study of Great Britain, we determine the extent to which flexible operation of CCS plants is required, resulting in variable CO2 flows that need to be accommodated by future CO2 transportation and storage networks. We find that around 21% and 12% of the net flow rate changes over 6hperiods in the core scenario have greater amplitudes than 30% and 50% of nominal flow, respectively. When changes are averaged over two consecutive blocks of 6 h, representing the smoothing effect achievable via linepacking over a pipeline of reasonable length and diameter, around 9% of the net changes have greater amplitudes than 40% of nominal flow. Given the high and frequent fluctuations in feed flows across all considered scenarios, further research is urgently required on the capability of transportation and storage networks to accommodate variable CO2 flow rates.