The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched a new project, which aims to inject a fresh shot of action into the UK’s flailing carbon capture and storage (CCS) situation.

The ‘Impact of Brine Production on Aquifer Storage’ investigation will study the impact of removing brine from undersea stores which could be used to store captured carbon dioxide (CO2), and will also study the effects brine production could have on reducing costs and risks to store CO2 undersea in the future.

ETI’s view remains that CCS offers long term the lowest cost solution to meeting the UK’s legally binding 2050 climate change targets

The project will produce a cost-benefit analysis of brine production using ETI’s CO2Stored database and numerical models and will examine any changes in injectivity and storage capacity as a direct result of producing brine. It will also highlight any potential savings to be had.

ETI will invest £200,000 ($279,000) in the nine-month long project, which will be carried out by Heriot-Watt University in partnership with Element Energy, T2 Petroleum Technology and Durham University.

This latest project from the Loughborough-based company aims to build on earlier carbon capture and storage (CCS) research work and to help explore potential CO2 stores, like depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron (below) dramatically axed £1bn ($1.4bn) of funding originally set aside for CCS research, with Chancellor George Osborne claiming, “CCS is not regarded as affordable.”

David Cameron British prime minister

Source: Frederic-Legrand-COMEO-Shutterstockcom

Considering the UK entered into a legally binding contract to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 at the COP21 talks in November 2015, Cameron’s decision was the catalyst in a long chain of events to inject fresh action into CCS plans in the UK.

Paul Winstanley, ETI CCS Manager, explained, “Although the UK Government is no longer pursuing its CCS demonstration competition, ETI’s view remains that CCS offers long term the lowest cost solution to meeting the UK’s legally binding 2050 climate change targets.”

“The work of this project should continue to demonstrate the role CCS should play in a long-term transition to a low carbon energy system.”

Our recent analysis for the ETI shows that early investment in CO2 storage development is needed to unlock future unit cost reductions and strategic build-out options for CCS

 

Emrah Durusut, CCS Expert at partner company Element Energy, expressed, “Our recent analysis for the ETI shows that early investment in CO2 storage development is needed to unlock future unit cost reductions and strategic build-out options for CCS given long lead times for developing storage sites. Brine production has the potential to reduce the level of investment required.”

It is understood that this project will be the most detailed investigation of the potential benefits of brine production for CCS in the UK conducted to date.

Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) recently suggested creating a CO2 hub in Scotland to help re-energise CCS deployment and boost efforts in January 2016. Their proposal would use existing infrastructure to transport CO2 into permanent storage in rocks deep beneath the North Sea.

 

The ETI is a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies and the UK Government. Its role is to act as a conduit between academia, industry and the government to accelerate the development of low carbon technologies.