Project develops modelling tool kit for future CCS operations

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched a £3m project that it believes will help support the future design, operation and roll-out of cost-effective CCS in the UK.

The two-and-a-half year project aims to develop a modelling toolkit capable of simulating the operation of all aspects of the CCS chain, from capture and transport to storage.

The system will build on Process System Enterprise’s gPROMS modelling platform, which has previously been successfully used by BP and Shell but not for non-CCS purposes.

The ETI claims the modelling toolkit will be used to support the initial conceptual design and eventual detailed design and operation of CCS systems by helping to identify and understand system-wide operational issues, such as the effects of power stations ramp-up or ramp-down on downstream storage operation, or the impact of downstream disturbances on power generation.

Dr David Clarke, ETI chief executive, said: ‘The project brings the whole CCS chain together, from power stations to storage operators, with a UK technology company that can provide the modelling know-how and software framework.’

Those set to benefit include power station operators who need to know the effect of CCS on their operations, as well as future transport and storage operators, who will want to understand requirements for their equipment.

‘The new toolkit, which will consist of several software modules, should be easy for engineering companies to implement because many of them already have gPROMS installed on their systems,’ explained Clarke.

He claimed the toolkit will help inform decisions at all levels, from strategic planning and system design to plant operation and maintenance.

‘The impurities in the CO2 we will be attempting to transport will provide us with a major challenge,’ said Clarke. ‘However, we are confident we can overcome this.’

ETI spokesperson Richard Robinson told The Engineer that gas composition is a critical area in determining how the gas behaves in the pipe.

‘At certain pressures and temperatures the gas may split into separate phases with differing compositions and physical properties,’ he said. ‘Different compressibilities for instance which is a critical parameter in operation of pumping plant for moving gas through the pipe.’

Robinson added that the CO2 gas stream will contain a range of other compounds and will vary depending on the emissions output at any specific time from the exact fuel composition being used at the powerplant and the plant operating conditions. 

‘The toolkit will allow design of the optimum transmission piping and pumping systems to cope with likely variations in the network operation and gas composition,’ he said.

The ETI has already announced £29m worth of CCS projects, including a demonstration project led by Costain and an appraisal of the UK’s potential storage sites led by Senergy.