Collaborations will cover full chain from capture to storage

Scientists from the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) research partnership have competitively won a 20% share of a £2.57 million funding pot to carry out targeted research that will support the commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK.

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Three out of 14 new CCS research projects, selected by the UK CCS Research Centre (UKCCSRC) as part of its second UK-wide funding call, will be led by academics based at Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh. The three projects will yield crucial results that will feed into each stage of the CCS chain, from capturing CO₂ within flexible power generation systems to monitoring its transport in liquid state and ensuring safe and permanent storage deep below ground. A further two projects will involve researchers from within the SCCS partnership as co-investigators.

UKCCSRC has provided funding to nine research institutes across the UK for a total of 14 project collaborations. Seven projects will focus on CO₂ capture, five will tackle cross-cutting issues and two will involve CO₂ storage. The winning bids have attracted an additional £2m in co-funding and support from industry partners.

Professor Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said:

The diversity and quality of expertise within the SCCS partnership has enabled us to secure an improved share of funding for research that will support the growing CCS industry in the UK. The knowledge gained will also be applicable to CCS projects worldwide, as many countries begin to assemble the elements of a low-carbon economy. It is essential that academia, industry and government continue working together to refine our knowledge and progress to commercial-scale deployment of CCS technology."

Projects led by SCCS researchers:

  • Performance of flow meters with dense phase CO₂ and CCS recovery streams (£185,000)

    Principal investigator: Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Heriot-Watt University, Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage

    This collaborative project between Heriot-Watt University and KROHNE Ltd addresses a key knowledge gap for the commercialisation of CCS technologies and will provide a complete assessment of meters for accurate flow measurement of CO₂ within CCS streams.

    Prof Maroto-Valer said:

    Our team is delighted to continue our work on CO₂ metering through this project. This research will advance the specification for accurate metering within CCS developments for the power generation sector that is critical for the deployment of CCS.”
  • Towards more flexible power generation with CCS: pilot plant test campaigns for best practice guidelines for post-combustion capture (£69,000)

    Principal investigator: Dr Mathieu Lucquiaud, the University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering

    This project will involve the UKCCSRC Pilot-Scale Advanced CO₂-Capture Technology (PACT) facilities to test post-combustion amine capture in flexible power generation systems. The PACT facilities are a national specialist resource for combustion and carbon capture technology research.

    Dr Lucquiaud said:

    The objective is to implement novel instrumentation and control methods, which can significantly enhance the dynamic flexibility of amine capture. We need to move CCS technologies from current concepts for base-load operation towards flexible, highly dynamic power plants with CO₂ capture.”
  • Quantifying residual and dissolution trapping in the CO2CRC Otway injection site (£299,000)

    Principal investigator: Dr Stuart Gilfillan, the University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences

    This award will allow SCCS expertise to play a key role in the next CO₂ injection experiment at the Otway test site in Australia. The project will cement a partnership between SCCS and the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC). The large-scale experiment will allow researchers to predict how much CO₂ can be securely trapped in CO₂ storage sites beneath the UK North Sea.

    Dr Gilfillan said:

    It is often forgotten that CO₂ injected underground for storage gets trapped in dead-end pore spaces within the rock, like air in a sponge, which can only be released by squeezing the sponge underwater. As CO₂ retained this way cannot be squeezed out of rock, it is securely trapped. Injected CO₂ also gradually dissolves in the groundwater it meets. CO₂-rich water is heavier than fresh water, so it sinks and is securely trapped. However, the amount of CO₂ trapped and the speed at which it dissolves is poorly known. We will partner with one of the world’s leading CO₂ injection test sites, at Otway, taking measurements to determine the amount of injected CO₂ trapped in both the dead end pore spaces and as a result of CO₂ dissolution.”

Projects involving SCCS researchers as co-investigators:

  • Investigating the radiative heat flux in small and large scale oxy-coal furnaces for CFD model development and system scale up (£198,000)

    Principal investigator: Dr Lin Ma, University of Leeds

    Dr Ma will be joined by Dr Jia Li and Dr Xi Liang, both from the University of Edinburgh, as co-investigators on research involving comprehensive measurements of coal combustion in small and large-scale pilot test facilities. Results will provide boundary conditions and validations for CFD (computational fluid dynamics) modelling of combustion and heat transfer processes in the furnaces.

  • Multi-scale characterisation of CO₂ storage in the UK (£299,000)

    Principal investigator: Dr Sam Krevor, Imperial College London

    Dr Sam Holloway and Dr Gareth Williams of the British Geological Survey will join Dr Krevor as co-investigators on research to investigate storage processes on a range of scales, from core-scale experiments in the laboratory to reservoir scale numerical models. Results will provide insights into the migration and trapping of dense-phase CO₂ in storage reservoirs, processes which are key to long-term storage security.

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