Flexible Funding 2023: Dr Aliakbar Hassanpouryouzband, University of Edinburgh

CRYSTAL-CCS: Clathrate-Based Geological Carbon Capture and Storage

null

Key facts about this Flexible Funding research project

-----
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Department: School of Geosciences
Start date: 1 October 2023
Principal investigator: Dr Aliakbar Hassanpouryouzband
Co-Investigators: Dr Katriona Edlmann, Professor Stuart Haszeldine
Amount awarded by UKCCSRC: £10,000

Why is this research needed?

Geological storage of CO2 in the form of solid hydrates holds great promise due to its potential for enhanced storage security. The CRYSTAL-CCS project aims to investigate the formation of CO2 hydrates in the presence of impurities, offering an innovative and cost-effective solution for CO2 storage.

This research proposal focuses on conducting comprehensive experimental investigations into the kinetics of CO2 hydrate formation in well-characterized water/ice-saturated sediments. By gaining insights into the capture rate, capture efficiency and clathrate stoichiometry of CO2 with impurities, we can optimize and scale up the proposed CCS method. Furthermore, we will assess the stability of CO2 hydrates and their potential for CO2 release during temperature increases, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the storage process.

A key objective is to evaluate the safety mechanism provided by the formation of a hydrate cap in sediments for CO2 with impurities. This analysis will enhance our understanding of how the hydrate cap effectively blocks pathways and prevents the release of greenhouse gases, particularly from permafrost regions experiencing global warming. This information will inform the development of a resilient CCS method with significant environmental benefits.

Building upon the outcomes of the experimental investigations, the project will develop optimization and scale-up strategies for the direct injection of CO2 with impurities into water/ice-saturated sediments. This knowledge will support the design and implementation of large-scale CCS operations, contributing to the broader goal of reducing CO2 emissions and mitigating global warming.

What is this research investigating?

This proposal aims to develop an innovative approach for carbon capture and storage by directly injecting CO2 with impurities, including high purity and low purity streams, into water/ice-saturated sediments for the formation of CO2 hydrates. This method offers a cost-effective and scalable solution for CO2 storage in a solidified form, facilitating permanent storage and reducing CO2 emissions. The research project encompasses experimental investigations into the kinetics of CO2 rich hydrate formation in well-characterized water/ice-saturated sediments, covering a range of temperatures corresponding to subglacial, permafrost, subpermafrost and subsea sediments.

The study will evaluate the capture rate, capture efficiency and clathrate stoichiometry, while also addressing the challenges posed by global warming on the stored CO2-rich hydrates. The findings will contribute to the understanding and implementation of this novel CCS method, which has the potential to slow or even halt the rise of CO2 content in the atmosphere while providing a safety mechanism against greenhouse gas release from permafrost due to global warming.

Objective 1: Experimental Investigation of CO2 with impurities Hydrate Formation Kinetics: This objective involves conducting comprehensive experimental studies to investigate the kinetics of CO2 hydrate formation in water/ice-saturated sediments. The experiments will cover temperatures ranging from 260 to 285K, representing different sediment environments. By measuring the formation kinetics, we aim to gain insights into the capture rate, capture efficiency, and clathrate stoichiometry for CO2, both in high purity and low purity streams. This analysis will enable the optimization and scaling-up of the proposed CCS method.

Objective 2: Evaluation of Hydrate Dissociation Kinetics during Temperature Increase: In this objective, we will examine the kinetics of hydrate dissociation in response to temperature increase for CO2 hydrates with impurities. By subjecting the formed CO2-rich hydrates to controlled temperature variations, we will assess the stability and potential for CO2 release. This analysis will address the effect of global warming on stored CO2-rich hydrates, ensuring the sustainability and long-term stability of the proposed CCS method.

Objective 3: Assessing the Safety Mechanism Provided by Hydrate Cap Formation: This objective focuses on investigating the safety mechanism provided by the formation of a hydrate cap in sediments for CO2 with impurities. By studying the pathway blocking effect of the hydrate cap, we aim to assess its potential for preventing the release of greenhouse gases from permafrost in response to global warming. This analysis will enhance the understanding of the environmental benefits and resilience of the proposed CCS method.

Objective 4: Optimization and Scale-up Strategies for the CCS Method: Building upon the outcomes of Objectives 1-3, this objective aims to develop optimization and scale-up strategies for the direct injection of CO2 with impurities into water/ice-saturated sediments. The research findings will be utilized to identify the key parameters influencing capture efficiency, clathrate formation, and long-term stability for both high purity and low purity streams. This knowledge will contribute to the design and implementation of large-scale CCS operations using the proposed method.

Objective 5: Knowledge Dissemination and Policy Recommendations: The final objective of this project is to disseminate the research findings and provide policy recommendations based on the outcomes. Through publications, conferences, and engagement with policymakers, we will promote the adoption of the proposed CCS method and its integration into national and international climate change mitigation strategies. This objective aims to bridge the gap between research and policy, facilitating the practical application and impact of the research outcomes.

What does the research hope to achieve?

Academic beneficiaries will greatly benefit from this research endeavour. The investigation into the kinetics, thermodynamics, and mechanisms of CO2 hydrate formation will advance fundamental knowledge in fields such as geology, geochemistry, chemical engineering, and environmental sciences. The comprehensive experimental studies conducted will generate a wealth of data, serving as a valuable resource for future research endeavours. Researchers will be able to build upon these findings, exploring new avenues of investigation and deepening our understanding of the complex processes involved in CO2 hydrate formation. Moreover, the research outcomes will contribute to scientific publications, conferences, and seminars, enriching academic discourse and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars.

Industry stakeholders stand to gain significant advantages from this research. Energy companies, engineering firms, and CCS technology developers will benefit from the insights and practical guidance offered by the optimization and scaling-up strategies for CO2 storage methods. The research findings will inform the design and implementation of large-scale CCS operations, enabling industry partners to develop more efficient and economically viable CO2 storage technologies. The involvement of industry collaborators throughout the research project will facilitate knowledge exchange, technology transfer, and collaboration between academia and industry. This synergy will spur innovation, driving the development of sustainable energy systems and accelerating the adoption of carbon capture and storage solutions.

The wider society will experience far-reaching benefits as a result of this research. In the face of the urgent need to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the development of cost-effective and scalable CO2 storage solutions is of paramount importance. By directly injecting CO2 with impurities into water/ice-saturated sediments for hydrate formation, this research offers a promising approach to secure underground CO2 storage. The formation of CO2 hydrates provides a secondary safety factor, significantly reducing the permeability of leakage pathways and bolstering storage security. Consequently, concerns related to the safety and viability of hydrate-based CO2 storage are effectively addressed. By enhancing confidence, trust, and acceptance of this technology, the research outcomes will play a crucial role in driving the transition to a low-carbon future.

Furthermore, the research findings will provide policymakers and regulators with robust scientific evidence and insights necessary for informed decision-making. This will facilitate the development of policies and regulations that support the widespread adoption of CO2 hydrate-based storage technologies. In turn, this will enable society to meet emission reduction targets, fulfil climate change commitments, and contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

The CRYSTAL-CCS project is committed to disseminating research findings and policy recommendations to various stakeholders. Through scholarly publications, conference engagements, and targeted interactions with policymakers, we aim to raise awareness and promote the adoption of the proposed CCS method. By bridging the gap between research and policy, we can ensure the practical application and impact of our findings on national and international climate change mitigation strategies.

Research outputs

This research is ongoing. Outputs will be shared below as they become available.