The 5th Cost Network Meeting took place in Imperial College London, chaired by John Gibbins, from UKCCSRC. With the presence of a varied scientific community, once again this workshop was full of valuable presentations.
The meeting was divided in two days, starting with a review on the UK studies and large CCS projects. From those sessions, it was interesting to see the techno-economic assessment of emerging technologies, presented by Amec Foster Wheleer. During their presentation, we saw promising results based on a decrease of the energy penalty on new systems compared to traditional CCS. The large projects were represented by Petranova and Quest plants. The day continued with the session focused on the cost of emerging processes, where NET Power and the Membrane-based technology were presented, and concluded with CCS in Energy-Economic models, presented by University College Cork and Oxford University.
The second day started with the intervention of Clara Heuberger, from Imperial College London, who presented the role of CCS within the UK electricity system. Following this presentation, Andy Boston, from Red Vector, showed the results on the Australian case. As main conclusions from both speakers, we saw that flexibility is essential to assess the integration of CCS technologies within a techno-economic framework. As example, in Australia, different conditions based on locations are identified, so the integration of decarbonising technologies must be adapted accordingly. Likewise, as we saw in past events, CCS should be part of a synergy of technologies, which would include renewable energy amongst other strategies. Inflexible grids would struggle in the future and reliable low emissions electricity comes at a cost. In this scenario, deeper decarbonisation levels can be achieved using CCS.
The last section of the cost network meeting was compound by three parallel workshop sessions, where the attendees were divided in three groups based on their interests. I was lucky to be part of the session “Learnings from demonstration projects: what will be the next plant cost? ”, chaired by Jeff Hoffmann, from USDOE NETL. In this session, interesting questions on the current CCS demonstration scenario were discussed: Firstly, the discussion started with the debate on the CCS status, currently based on FOAK (first of a kind) plants or large-demonstration projects. Additionally, while we see over-estimation of costs in those running plants to increase the trustworthiness on the carbon capture system, stakeholders consider that the cost will be reduced by 20-30% on the next constructions through a more precise design. Moreover, not only costs, but lessons from those projects are both technical and economically beneficial. In consequence, the strategy for the next generation of plants can take two pathways: First, going ahead to construct the SOAK (second of a kind) plant; or second, improve the systems at lab/plant scale and wait longer to scale it up. Nevertheless, IP issues will play an important role in CCS costs. While learnings can be extracted from projects running, still that could impact on the next plants costs.
The two days of the cost network workshop were charged of open discussions on methodologies to assess CCS costs and attendees showed high interest in continuing with those sessions. We look forward to attend the next one.
The high temperature solid looping cycles (HTSLC) network meeting covers technology developments in fields where a solid material is cycled between multiple reactors at elevated temperatures. The scope of the IEAGHG HTSLC Network is to discuss recent progress in solids looping cycles such as calcium looping and sorption enhanced reforming for selective CO2 transport and chemical looping combustion and reforming with selective oxygen transport by the solids. It brings together well-known technologies used in Fluid Catalytic Cracking, Circulating Fluidized Beds and Combined Cycles, in new ways, to increase efficiencies and provide opportunities to decrease the carbon-footprint of energy intensive processes.
IEAGHG’s 7th HTSLCN Meeting took place 4th – 5th September in Luleå, Sweden. 50 delegates attended the meeting, which was hosted by Swerea MEFOS in the Kulturens Hus in the town centre.
The first day started off with a welcome from the organisers IEAGHG and Swerea MEFOS and a keynote presentation from Matteo Romano (Politecnico Di Milano) on the application of high temperature sorbents in industrial and power plants. The following technical sessions covered calcium looping modelling and testing, chemical looping fundamentals and economics and environmental impacts of both technologies in detail. After a short panel discussion summarising the main conclusions of the first day, delegates enjoyed a delicious dinner. All while taken in the stunning sunset over the Luleå archipelago and listening to a couple of Anders Lyngfelt’s (Chalmers University) famous live songs on climate change and chemical looping.
The second day started similar to the first one with a keynote presentation. Paul Cobden (ECN) briefed everyone about the STEPWISE project, which aims at demonstrating sorption enhanced water gas shift technology for CO2 reduction in the iron and steel industry. Valuable information for the site visit in the afternoon but more on this later. Participants again split up to attend technical sessions on either sorption enhanced reforming fundamentals and testing, as well as chemical looping modelling and testing. Afterwards, everyone assembled for the final session on the application of biomass to solid looping technologies, which was identified as one of the hot topics of the meeting, next to flexibility, as it could enable achieving net negative emissions. The meeting was concluded with another short panel discussion and a presentation by Eva Sundin, CEO of Swerea MEFOS, giving an overview about the company’s activities and a safety briefing for the tour. Participants then boarded a bus bringing us to the site of SSAB’s steel plant, where the STEPWISE demonstration plant is located. After a short reception with refreshments, the STEPWISE plant was officially opened, the ribbon cut and delegates were given a tour around the facilities, including the control room, SEWGS column and compressor station.
Concluding from the panel discussions and technical sessions, it was noted that solid looping technologies now urgently need to move forward in term of scale. Especially since the progress appears to have stalled during the last 2 years with no new large pilot or demonstration plant having been announced. However, this development is not exclusively concerning solid looping technologies but rather all CCS technologies, as requests for technical details and costs have driven some researchers/engineer back to the lab. Negative emission through solid looping with biomass and flexible operation have been identified as the hot topics of this meeting. It is important that the HTSLCN community has started work on these topics. The forthcoming IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C will hopefully help to regain momentum for CCS technologies. Next to biomass, sorption enhanced reforming technologies appear as a promising near-term option to party replace conventional H2 production. Thus, opportunities for solid looping currently seem to be in the industrial sectors, rather than in the primarily targeted power sector.
IPIECA is the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues. They held a workshop on CCS on the 12th September at BP in London, bringing in a range of stakeholders to identity the key roles and actions to speed up CCS. Sessions covered costs and technical issues, policies and public issues, regional perspectives, business models, and the role for IPIECA. It was well attended, with many oil and gas company representatives as you would expect, and others from organisations such as US DOE, MIT, Oxford University, CCSA, IEA, IEAGHG, The International CCS Knowledge Centre and GCCSI.
In the many interesting presentations, responses and discussions, one to note in the business models session was from NRG on their Petra Nova project which became operational earlier this year. This large-scale CCS project on a coal power station has reached 800,000 tonnes captured and sent to use and storage in CO2-EOR. I was struck by what appears to be a more complex business structure compared to other CCS projects, with multiple companies and joint-ventures involved, including the export credit agency of Japan and a JV company set up by NRG and Hilcorp to run the pipeline and EOR aspects.
Also to note was the presentation by Myles Allen of Oxford University, highlighting that carbon price alone is very unlikely to stimulate CCS deployment, even with the modellers’ forecasts of higher prices, prices which also seem unlikely in the medium term, and so instead he was proposing some form of mandatory CCS mechanism.
IEAGHG was asked to respond on costs and technical issues, and made points on the need for large-scale demonstrations to reduce costs for subsequent projects by learning-by-doing and sharing experiences, the need to progress storage assessments, the refining of MMV strategies at larger injection projects, the challenges facing BioCCS, and the opportunities with offshore CCS and with CCS’s role in flexible power generation.
So an interesting meeting, running the day before the IEAGHG Costs Network meeting which is also in London (Imperial College), which helped those attendees who were attending both.
IEAGHG organised the fourth Post Combustion Capture Conference (PCCC4) in Birmingham, Alabama, supported by NCCC. The event attracted 110 attendees from 16 countries and included two visits to full-scale Carbon Capture facilities, the NCCC and Kemper sites.
PCCC-4 opened with a visit to the NCCC facilities, where we were lucky to see the membrane-based post-combustion capture technology based on the new PI-2 material (presented recently in the 2017 NETL CO2 Capture Review meeting, see http://ieaghg.org/docs/General_Docs/Information_Papers/2017-IP51.pdf), chemical absorption system (now testing systems developed in collaboration with University of Texas at Austin (UTA)) and pre-combustion process.
The three days of PCCC4 presentations opened with plenary sessions, which included talks on the NCCC and Kemper demonstration projects, CCS in China and USA, followed by updates from the technologies tested by UTA. Moreover, a different policies perspective, given by Clear Path, completed the overview of the global CCS status.
Approximately 45 technical presentations included international research on 2nd - 3rd generation capture systems, novel solvents, modelling, industrial emissions, environmental impacts, pilot and large scale projects. On Tuesday, I was lucky to chair two fascinating sessions on last advances on amine solvents and industrial emissions. Firstly, we had the opportunity to see the last progresses on two research lines on hybrid amine solvents. We saw previous updates in TCCS-9 (see http://ieaghg.org/publications/blog/119-meetings-and-conferences/796-tccs-9) and GHGT-13: first, containing organic compounds and, secondly, including imidazoles, explained by UTA and NTNU respectively. In that case, recent kinetic results contributed to the further evaluation of those systems. Two presentations, given by Trimeric Corporation and UTA, showed the NO2 removal with Aqueous Sulfite process at two scales, including pilot testing at NCCC. Updates on cyclic oxidation piperazine and its avoidance were also given by Paul Nielsen, from UTA. Apart from amine solutions, biphasic solvents are lately emerging due to several advantages they might offer, as reduction of stripper size. We saw different approaches, based on liquid-liquid solvents (Ilinois State Geological Survey), based on precipitating systems (Lund University) and using catalysts. Still, the debate on high viscosity of the rich phase must be considered and research on the impact of that on the techno-economic analysis is still ongoing.
Through the industrial emissions session, we saw a good mixture of technologies. Following the presentation in GHGT-13 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876610217319598), ETH Zurich continued their research on the chilled-ammonia process in the context of the CEMCAP project (see http://ieaghg.org/docs/General_Docs/Publications/Information_Papers/2017-IP33.pdf), where we observed great interest from the audience. The results from the Tomakomai demonstration project in Japan were engaging, where we heard about social perception and government acceptance. As highlight, the discussion on the difference between the storage capacity and injection limitation due to regulations gave an additional realistic point of view. It is interesting to highlight the talk given by Hajime Kimura, from Mizuho Information & Research Institute, showing the work on the creation of guidelines on environmental risks of CCS systems in Japan. Also UK representatives offered some contributions for the next steps on risks guidance.
The session on 2nd-3rd generation systems included new configurations for membrane systems, as the two-layer structure with nanoparticles presented by Shinshu University. Through scaling-up, demonstration projects presented in this event included the technologies tested at NCCC, TCM, PICA Plant, University of Kentucky and Niederaussem.
PCCC4 closed with the visit to the Kemper site, based in Mississippi. We had the opportunity to see the pre-combustion facilities, including the fluidised bed gasifier and the ash separator column. Moreover, Richar Exposito explained rock formation possibilities we can find in storage sites and different strategies on CO2 injection campaigns.
In conclusion, PCCC4 covered a wide range of emerging systems at advanced stage of development. Full-scale projects proved that CCS technologies are technically feasible but still some concerns on price, regulations and environment must be addressed. Next generation of post-combustion capture technologies can include any of the systems exhibited during this event and IEAGHG will continue looking at those closely.
As it does annually at this time of year, NETL chose Pittsburgh to host the 2017 review of the results and future plans of CO2 capture technology projects that currently receive funding from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy. With the DOE having some involvement in the vast majority of research and development on CO2 capture in the United States, the event marks an excellent opportunity to catch up on progress.
Lynn Brickett, NETL’s Carbon Capture Technology Manager, opened the meeting by welcoming the 160 or so attendees. While the attendance comprised largely of representatives from the DOE, NETL, the national laboratories, industry and various research organisations, there was also a strong international contingent present. During her welcome, Lynn advised that there would be a break in proceedings shortly after lunch on the first day to allow those that wished to go outside for the solar eclipse. As it turned out, Pittsburgh was an excellent location to experience this phenomenon; an added attraction that not all events can offer!
John Litynski, DOE’s Acting CCS Division Director, delivered the opening presentation, where he spoke on the revised DOE strategy going forward. He said there would be a shift in approach from testing in pilot-scale and larger facilities to earlier stage R&D and lower TRLs. Interestingly, industry would be expected to take much more of a lead in progressing technologies post-TRL5 to commercial. And 90% capture would no longer be a technology target, with the new priority to focus rather on the economics of the process. Otherwise, current priorities on such things as materials, oxy-combustion and chemical looping, for example, would remain.
Following a series of opening keynotes from EPRI, IEAGHG, Gassnova, TCM, Gamma Energy Technology and Southern Company, the meeting continued with its extensive coverage of the full portfolio of CO2 capture-related technologies, systems studies, modelling and technologies for CO2 re-use. Ongoing work on solvents, sorbents, membranes, hybrid approaches, oxy-combustion, chemical looping, post- and pre-combustion, and CO2 compression technologies at various stages of development was described. Presentations covered work undertaken at lab/bench-scale, small pilot-scale and large pilot-scale.
Highlights over the week included presentations on advances in post-combustion, where topics such as the characterisation of new solvents, studies on improved materials for membrane separation and novel process configurations were covered, a good part at high TRLs. There was also significant coverage of CO2 utilisation projects at lower TRLs and just beginning their funding cycle. Lines of research included the use of CO2 in synthesising chemicals and fuels, plus other final products such as cement. CO2 re-use involved new chemical routes, novel catalytic processes and the use of lower footprint materials such as algae. Presentations during the final session were focused on chemical looping and oxy-combustion. Results showing microscopic observations of haematite at high temperature in chemical looping opened an interesting discussion on the chemical reactions taking place.
There was also a feature during the meeting on NETL’s Carbon Capture Simulation for Industry Impact (CCSI2), a computational tool arising from the premise that developing a capture technology from inception to commercial availability is a tremendously costly endeavour. If a single stage, or even more than one stage, of the development could be achieved less expensively and/or more quickly, it would be very attractive and would accelerate the commercialisation of carbon capture technologies. CCSI2 is a partnership among national laboratories, industry and academic institutions to apply cutting edge computational modelling and simulation tools to precisely this aim.
It was evident from the numbers in attendance and the breadth of information imparted that R&D on CO2 capture in the United States is in a healthy state. Options at various stages of development bode well for the future. Efforts to drive down costs are progressing. With its new strategy and renewed funding commitments, the DOE’s programme looks set to continue the good work for which it is internationally renowned.
The US DOE annual Carbon Storage Review meeting, held in Pittsburgh 1-3 August, included presentations on the latest technology innovations currently under development in the country. One of the challenges of secure subsurface storage is the ability to track CO2 in deep reservoirs. Fibre-optic distributed acoustic sensors (DAS) are attracting increasing interest as a reliable medium for detecting subtle changes in reservoirs. The technology has been deployed and tested at CO2 storage sites and there is evidence that it could become a promising means of monitoring.
DAS works by responding to external pressure from a seismic source acting on the fibre that then induces a back-scattering effect. This response can be translated into a strain measurement that can be correlated with wave forms detected by conventional geophones. DAS generated signals have now been successfully correlated with vertical seismic profiles (VSPs) using arrays of geophones suspended in a wellbore. One key advantage of fibre optic systems that has become evident from field deployment is their durability. These systems are robust and have remained intact even after 5 years in the ground. The technology has now reached a stage where it is being commercialised. Helical configurations of fibres will improve the sensitivity of system and therefore signal quality and seismic images.
DAS, and other monitoring techniques, are run prior to CO2 injection into reservoirs to generate a base-line image. CO2 is then injected into the subsurface and tracked by running repeat surveys. Time-lapse and cross-well comparisons between base-line conditions and later surveys can provide evidence of CO2 distribution within reservoirs. Future research is planned to analyse different forms of shear-wave and heat pulse monitoring. These advances should lead to enhanced seismic images especially in deep reservoirs where conventional seismic techniques can be less effective.
One of the highlights from the US DOE Carbon Storage and oil and natural gas Technologies Review Meeting between 1st and 3rd August 2017, was a summary from, Robert Vagnetti of NETL on the current US geothermal FORGE programme (Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy). This energy source is not only relatively abundant in the US it also benefits from mutual technological innovations relevant to CO2 storage. Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS) have been under development in many countries including the US where there are heat anomalies in crystalline rock formations such as granite. EGS relies on drilling into rock which is then hydraulically fractured. Additional production wells are then drilled and water is circulated between the injector and production wells to extract heat. Microseismicity is generated during the creation of the fracture network and the ability to detect the sites of the seismicity allows geologists to delineate the optimum sites for production wells. Pressurisation caused by CO2 injection can induce microseismicity so the ability to detect where it is occurring, and any risks associated with the phenomenon, are an important part of site characterisation.
Under the FORGE programme the potential for EGS will be evaluated at the Navy Air Station test site in Fallon, Nevada. Geological analysis at this site indicates temperatures greater 175°C at depths of 1.5 to 2 km. The complexity of EGS and geothermal reservoirs creates a demand for data analysis to create clear images of heat-exchange reservoirs. Consequently the development of a robust monitoring system is required to investigate rock fractures and deformation. The effectiveness of fibre optic cables to measure rock properties in a geothermal field, particularly detailed seismic and temperature data, is now being evaluated. Fibre optic cables are also showing promising application in CO2 storage sites particularly for seismic surveys which are used to detect the presence of CO2 in a reservoir.
Recent advances in fibre optic detection systems are leading to higher quality images and improved subsurface interpretation vital to both geothermal energy and CO2 storage. This is an excellent example of how technical innovation can be mutually beneficial in different applications.
The US DOE held its annual Carbon Storage Review meeting in Pittsburgh 1-3 August. This is always an interesting meeting because all the CCUS R,D&D projects funded by the US DOE have to present and be reviewed, and was attended by some 250 participants. This year was even more interesting because of the sixteen CarbonSAFE integrated projects being presented for the first time. The $44m worth of projects will be reported in a separate report/blog. The US has relatively recently developed interest in offshore CCS, and this meeting saw seven projects being presented.
The four projects funded to undertake offshore storage assessments presented their work and results so far. These were the Northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM) (UT), the Mid-Atlantic (Battelle), the Southeast (GoM and Atlantic) (Southern States Energy Board), and the Ship Shoal (GoM) (Geomechanics Technologies Ic).The projects are covering both sandstone and carbonate reservoirs, have acquired existing data, for example from BOEM, and some have acquired new data such as high resolution seismic. In addition, another project presented on a high-level assessment of storage in GoM in depleting oil and gas reservoirs (NITEC LLC). Each project found large potential storage capacities in their areas, in the many millions of tonnes scale. The high-level study found in the Federal waters in GoM around 4000 Mt CO2 storage capacity in depleted oil and gas fields.
In addition, the CarbonSAFE initiative is funding two offshore assessments in the Phase 1 (pre-feasibility) stage. Cascadia Basin (basalts) (University of Columbia) and Northwest GoM (UT). The Cascadia project is interesting because of its unique storage geology and hence trapping mechanisms by dissolution in water and subsequent mineralisation, all at a deep water location 2600m deep, and potentially transboundary with Canada’s British Columbia. The GoM project is interesting because of the proximity of many large-scale CO2 sources and transport infrastructure options to potential storage sites close by offshore.
Five of these seven projects had presented at the 2nd Offshore workshop in Beaumont Texas in June, possibly the first time an international audience had seen these projects. In conclusion, the USA is quickly gaining knowledge on its considerable potential for offshore storage. This was assisted by hosting the 2nd International Workshop on Offshore CCS in June (see my blog of the 22 June) learning from other countries. When the USA acts, there is no doubt over the quick progress made. Watch this space!
Secure retention of CO2 in offshore storage sites will depend on reliable measuring, monitoring and verification (MMV) to ensure that any unplanned releases can be detected. The marine environment also needs to be characterised so that potential changes caused by a release of CO2 can be distinguished from natural variability. The Energy Technologies Institute have supported a £5M project to build and demonstrate a MMV system that can meet the demanding technical and legislative requirements for offshore conditions. A consortium of companies and organisations led by Sonardyne in partnership with Fugro and the UK’s National Oceanography Centre, plus associated research contributions from the University of Southampton, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the British Geological Survey have developed a sensor payload for Autosub Long Range (ALR), a long endurance autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). ALR, also known as “Boaty McBoatFace”, has just completed sea trials off the east coast of the UK in the North Sea. It was towed out from the Yorkshire sea-side town of Bridlington to a test site where it was exposed to a subsea release of CO2.
This AUV and its sensing systems has been optimised for an operational window in marine environments of water depths up to 200m, operating at distances of 25 - 150miles (40 – 240km) from land and being capable of surveying the seabed and the water column across a storage complex in one or two deployments.
It can also operate autonomously for in excess of 10 days which avoids the cost of using an expensive survey ship. The AUV is equipped with an array of physical and chemical sensors together with a state of the art multi-aperture side scan sonar that can detect releases of CO2. The ALR’s on-board computer systems provide real-time data analysis and an interpretation capability to enable leaks from CO2 storage sites to be discriminated from other seabed emissions. The suite of physical and chemical sensors can map natural variability in seawater composition and pick out the difference between natural variability and non-biological driven changes that might indicate a leak. The multi-aperture side scan sonar runs an automated target recognition (ATR) algorithm in real time on the sonar data and has been shown to distinguish between a CO2 plume and other features such as a shoal of fish or a ship’s wake.
The offshore sea trials, led by Fugro, involved towing the ALR 12km off the coast of Bridlington. CO2 was deliberately released, supplied by a bank of cylinders placed on the sea floor and two different survey patterns were conducted: a Wide Area Survey (WAS) over a large area to demonstrate baseline survey; and a Fine Area Survey (FAS) covering 500m x 150m box within the immediate vicinity of the release point. The ALR travelled around 400km during the demonstration with a coverage of some 60km2. This North Sea demonstration has shown that that the ALR can be controlled and tracked along a predetermined survey path, being operated from shore (from Southampton) over a period of days with no support vessel on-site, all of the sensor and operational data being communicated back to shore using satellite communications to secure servers. This data was then made available on the Internet using Fugro’s METIS package, showing chemical heat maps, AUV tracks, sonar detections and sonar imagery.
The project has also tested static lander systems that are deployed to the sea floor and can record physical and chemical parameters within their immediate vicinity. These systems can be deployed near sites such as well heads where potential leakage could occur. These have used Sonardyne underwater acoustic communications to transfer data to a surface asset and onwards to the Internet via satellite communications.
The conclusions that can be drawn from the chemical detection system on ALR and landers demonstrate that:
• This state-of-the-art chemical and sonar sensor system on both the landers and the ALR have demonstrated good performance and reliability.
• The lander with chemical sensors has been shown to be effective in detecting small leaks from nearby targets.
• The automatic target recognition algorithm for the multi-aperture side scan sonar was successful in detecting small leaks in real time.
• Chemical sensors mounted in a moving vehicle can be an effective tool where CO2 is released in the dissolved phase and for larger leaks.
Last week I was lucky enough to visit my first ever CCS site whilst attending the IEAGHG Summer School. SaskPower hosted the students for a day at Boundary Dam which included a visit to the Shand testing facilities and Aquistore storage site. For me this trip was a particular highlight of the week as I was able to finally see all the research behind CCS being put into action. I feel it has given me a better standing to talk to people and spread the word of CCS, knowing I have seen all of the CCS technologies utilised successfully and seen for myself that these technologies really can work.
We were given a full tour of the Boundary Dam facilities with an introduction to power generation and an explanation of the capture plant technologies. As a geologist it was a great experience for me develop my understanding of capture technologies and better understand the processes behind amine solution capture. I would particularly like to thank the SaskPower team for answering all of the student’s questions, especially on the basics of chemical engineering!
Having heard lots about the Aquistore site it was exciting to see all the monitoring equipment in operation, especially having heard about their fibre optic arrays and GPS monitoring systems at various conferences and meetings. Thank you to PTRC for the tour and great to hear 81,000 tonnes have been safely stored.