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.
Three out of 14 new CCS research projects, selected by the UK CCS Research Centre (UKCCSRC) as part of its second 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 at Edinburgh University:
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) on CCS technology development and deployment. 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 at Edinburgh University 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.