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Carbon capture and storage

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    During 2010-11, as part of the Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) Demonstration Competition process, E.ON undertook a preliminary Front End Engineering Design (FEED) study for the development of a commercial scale CCS demonstration plant at Kingsnorth in Kent, South East England. The study has yielded invaluable knowledge on areas including project design, technical design, health and safety, environment, consents and project management. The E.ON UK FEED study material is available for download.

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    In March 2010, the Scottish CCS (Carbon Capture & Storage) Consortium began an extensive Front End, Engineering and Design (FEED) study to assess what exactly would be required from an engineering, commercial and regulatory, perspective in order to progress the CCS demonstration project at Longannet Power station in Scotland (Goldeneye) through to construction. The study has yielded invaluable knowledge in areas such as cost, design, end-to-end CCS chain operation, health and safety, environment, consent and permitting, risk management, and lessons learnt. The ScottishPower CCS Consortium FEED study material are available for download.

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    The detection and quantification of an underwater gas release are becoming increasingly important for oceanographic and industrial applications. Whilst the detection of each individual bubble injection events, with commensurate sizing from the natural frequency of the acoustic emission, has been common for decades in laboratory applications, it is impractical to do this when hundreds of bubbles are released simultaneously, as can occur with large methane seeps, or leaks from gas pipelines or undersea facilities for carbon capture and storage. This paper draws on data from two experimental studies and demonstrates the usefulness of passive acoustics to monitor gas leaks of this level. It firstly shows experimental validation tests of a recent model aimed at inverting the acoustic emissions of gas releases in a water tank. Different gas flow rates for two different nozzle types are estimated using this acoustic inversion and compared to measurements from a mass flow meter. The estimates are found to predict accurately volumes of released gas. Secondly, this paper demonstrates the use of this method at sea in the framework of the QICS project (controlled release of CO2 gas). The results in the form of gas flow rate estimates from bubbles are presented. These track, with good agreement, the injected gas and correlate within an order of magnitude with diver measurements. Data also suggest correlation with tidal effects with a decrease of 15.1 kg d-1 gas flow for every 1 m increase in tidal height (equivalent to 5.9 L/min when converted to standard ambient temperature [25 °C] and absolute pressure [100 kPa] conditions, SATP). This is a publication in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Peter Taylor et. al. Doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.02.008.

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    Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a key technology to potentially mitigate global warming by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial facilities and power generation that escape into the atmosphere. To broaden the usage of geological storage as a viable climate mitigation option, it is vital to understand CO2 behaviour after its injection within a storage reservoir, including its potential migration through overlying sediments, as well as biogeochemical and ecological impacts in the event of leakage. The impacts of a CO2 release were investigated by a controlled release experiment that injected CO2 at a known flux into shallow, under-consolidated marine sediments for 37 days. Repeated high-resolution 2D seismic reflection surveying, both pre-release and syn-release, allows the detection of CO2-related anomalies, including: seismic chimneys; enhanced reflectors within the subsurface; and bubbles within the water column. In addition, reflection coefficient and seismic attenuation values calculated for each repeat survey, allow the impact of CO2 flux on sediment acoustic properties to be comparatively monitored throughout the gas release. CO2 migration is interpreted as being predominantly controlled by sediment stratigraphy in the early stages of the experiment. However, either the increasing flow rate, or the total injected volume become the dominant factors determining CO2 migration later in the experiment. This is a publication in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Peter Taylor et. al. Doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.03.005.

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    The dynamic characteristics of CO2 bubbles in Scottish seawater are investigated through observational data obtained from the QICS project. Images of the leaked CO2 bubble plume rising in the seawater were captured. This observation made it possible to discuss the dynamics of the CO2 bubbles in plumes leaked in seawater from the sediments. Utilising ImageJ, an image processing program, the underwater recorded videos were analysed to measure the size and velocity of the CO2 bubbles individually. It was found that most of the bubbles deform to non-spherical bubbles and the measured equivalent diameters of the CO2 bubbles observed near the sea bed are to be between 2 and 12 mm. The data processed from the videos showed that the velocities of 75% of the leaked CO2 bubbles in the plume are in the interval 25-40 cm/s with Reynolds numbers (Re) 500-3500, which are relatively higher than those of an individual bubble in quiescent water. The drag coefficient Cd is compared with numerous laboratory investigations, where agreement was found between the laboratory and the QICS experimental results with variations mainly due to the plume induced vertical velocity component of the seawater current and the interactions between the CO2 bubbles (breakup and coalescence). The breakup of the CO2 bubbles has been characterised and defined by Eötvös number, Eo, and Re. This is a publication in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Nazmi Sellami et. al. Doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.02.011.

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    This paper explores the social dimensions of an experimental release of carbon dioxide (CO2) carried out in Ardmucknish Bay, Argyll, United Kingdom. The experiment, which aimed to understand detectability and potential effects on the marine environment should there be any leakage from a CO2 storage site, provided a rare opportunity to study the social aspects of a carbon dioxide capture and storage-related event taking place in a lived-in environment. Qualitative research was carried out in the form of observation at public information events about the release, in-depth interviews with key project staff and local stakeholders/community members, and a review of online media coverage of the experiment. Focusing mainly on the observation and interview data, we discuss three key findings: the role of experience and analogues in learning about unfamiliar concepts like CO2 storage; the challenge of addressing questions of uncertainty in public engagement; and the issue of when to commence engagement and how to frame the discussion. We conclude that whilst there are clearly slippages between a small-scale experiment and full-scale CCS, the social research carried out for this project demonstrates that issues of public and stakeholder perception are as relevant for offshore CO2 storage as they are for onshore. Published in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Leslie Mabon et. al. Doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.10.022

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    The solubility of water (H2O) in carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2) mixtures (xN2 = 0.050 and 0.100, mole fraction) has been investigated at 25 and 40 degrees C in the pressure range between 8 and 18 MPa. The motivation for this work is to aid the understanding of water solubility in complex CO2-based mixtures, which is required for the safety of anthropogenic CO2 transport via pipeline for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The measurements have been performed using an FTIR spectroscopic approach and demonstrate that this method is a suitable technique to determine the concentration of water in both pure CO2 and CO2 + N2 mixtures. The presence of N2 lowers the mole concentration of water in CO2 by up to 42% for a given pressure in the studied conditions and this represents important data for the development of pipelines for CCS. This work also provides preliminary indications that the key parameters for the solubility of H2O in such CO2 + N2 mixtures are the temperature and the overall density of the fluid mixture and not solely the given pressure of the CCS mixture. This could have implications for understanding the parameters required to be monitored during the safer transportation of CO2 mixtures in CCS pipelines. The paper is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1750583615000444, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.02.002. UKCCSRC Grants UKCCSRC-C1-21 and UKCCSRC-C2-185.

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    Carbon capture and storage in sub-seabed geological formations (sub-seabed CCS) is currently being studied as a realistic option to mitigate the accumulation of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere. In implementing sub-seabed CCS, detecting and monitoring the impact of the sequestered CO2 on the ocean environment is highly important. The first controlled CO2 release experiment, Quantifying and Monitoring Potential Ecosystem Impacts of Geological Carbon Storage (QICS), took place in Ardmucknish Bay, Oban, in May–September 2012. We applied the in situ pH/pCO2 sensor to the QICS experiment for detection and monitoring of leaked CO2, and carried out several observations. The cabled real-time sensor was deployed close to the CO2 leakage (bubbling) area, and the fluctuations of in situ pH and pCO2 above the seafloor were monitored in a land-based container. The long-term sensor was placed on seafloor in three different observation zones. The sediment pH sensor was inserted into the sediment at a depth of 50 cm beneath the seafloor near the CO2 leakage area. Wide-area mapping surveys of pH and pCO2 in water column around the CO2 leakage area were carried out by using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) installed with sensors. Atmospheric CO2 above the leakage area was observed by using a CO2 analyzer that was attached to the bow of ship of 50 cm above the sea-surface. The behavior of the leaked CO2 is highly dependent on the tidal periodicity (low tide or high tide) during the CO2 gas release period. At low tide, the pH in sediment and overlying seawater decreased due to strong eruption of CO2 gas bubbles, and the CO2 ascended to sea-surface quickly with a little dissolution to seawater and dispersed into the atmosphere. On the other hand, the CO2 bubbles release was lower at high tide due to higher water pressure, and slight low pH seawater and high atmospheric CO2 were detected. After stopping CO2 gas injection, no remarkable variations of pH in sediment and overlying water column were observed for three months. This is a publication in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Kiminori Shitashima et. al. Doi: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.12.011.

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    This work is focused on results from a recent controlled sub-seabed in situ carbon dioxide (CO2) release experiment carried out during May–October 2012 in Ardmucknish Bay on the Scottish west coast. Three types of pCO2 sensors (fluorescence, NDIR and ISFET-based technologies) were used in combination with multiparameter instruments measuring oxygen, temperature, salinity and currents in the water column at the epicentre of release and further away. It was shown that distribution of seafloor CO2 emissions features high spatial and temporal heterogeneity. The highest pCO2 values (~1250 µatm) were detected at low tide around a bubble stream and within centimetres distance from the seafloor. Further up in the water column, 30-100 cm above the seabed, the gradients decreased, but continued to indicate elevated pCO2 at the epicentre of release throughout the injection campaign with the peak values between 400 and 740 µatm. High-frequency parallel measurements from two instruments placed within 1 m from each other, relocation of one of the instruments at the release site and 2D horizontal mapping of the release and control sites confirmed a localized impact from CO2 emissions. Observed effects on the water column were temporary and post-injection recovery took <7 days. A multivariate statistical approach was used to recognize the periods when the system was dominated by natural forcing with strong correlation between variation in pCO2 and O2, and when it was influenced by purposefully released CO2. Use of a hydrodynamic circulation model, calibrated with in situ data, was crucial to establishing background conditions in this complex and dynamic shallow water system. This is a publication in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Dariia Atamanchuk et. al. Doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.10.021.

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    The impact of a sub-seabed CO2 leak from geological sequestration on the microbial process of ammonia oxidation was investigated in the field. Sediment samples were taken before, during and after a controlled sub-seabed CO2 leak at four zones differing in proximity to the CO2 source (epicentre, and 25 m, 75 m, and 450 m distant). The impact of CO2 release on benthic microbial ATP levels was compared to ammonia oxidation rates and the abundance of bacterial and archaeal ammonia amoA genes and transcripts, and also to the abundance of nitrite oxidizer (nirS) and anammox hydrazine oxidoreductase (hzo) genes and transcripts. The major factor influencing measurements was seasonal: only minor differences were detected at the zones impacted by CO2 (epicentre and 25 m distant). This included a small increase to ammonia oxidation after 37 days of CO2 release which was linked to an increase in ammonia availability as a result of mineral dissolution. A CO2 leak on the scale used within this study (<1 tonne day-1) would have very little impact to ammonia oxidation within coastal sediments. However, seawater containing 5% CO2 did reduce rates of ammonia oxidation. This was linked to the buffering capacity of the sediment, suggesting that the impact of a sub-seabed leak of stored CO2 on ammonia oxidation would be dependent on both the scale of the CO2 release and sediment type. This is a publication in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Yuji Watanabe et. al. Doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.11.013.