Scientists renew calls to fast track carbon capture and storage


carbon dioxide being released from industrial funnels

Scientists from ELEGANCY are holding a conference following their first year of working to fast-track carbon capture and storage in Europe by 2020.

Taking place on 8 November in Brussels, the ELEGANCY conference will host speakers from the project who will present initial findings from their first year of operation and announce plans for the second year, in addition to a selection of invited speakers from external stakeholders. The conference is an opportunity to understand the mission of the project and the types of challenges its modelling tools can provide solutions to.

With partners from five countries, including Imperial College London, SINTEF, Total, the European Gas Research Group and Equinor, ELEGANCY is developing innovative, cutting edge solutions on both a systems and component level to address challenges in carbon dioxide (CO2) transport, injection and storage. The countries represented in the project are the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

Overcoming obstacles

By linking carbon capture and storage (CCS) with the production of hydrogen for energy, ELEGANCY’s goal is to make it more economical, overcoming one of the main obstacles to major investment by industry and government whilst supporting the rapid introduction of hydrogen as an energy carrier.

Professor Martin Trusler of Imperial College London and ELEGANCY Project Director for the UK said: “CCS is recognised as an essential component in reducing global emissions, yet immediate up-front costs have stalled implementation by industry. By coupling hydrogen production from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage, and tapping into existing infrastructure, we are aiming to off-set initial investment costs and kickstart CCS in Europe. Eventually our aim is that our open-source modelling tools will enable countries to set-up CCS across the world, addressing the global issue of climate change.”

National case studies in each of the project’s represented countries will identify and provide solutions to implementation challenges for hydrogen-CCS systems, including identifying areas for production and storage. Additional strands of research will work to optimise these processes, and develop business cases and open-source modelling tools for industrial CCS that will enable it to be implemented on a commercial scale.

Groundbreaking research

Imperial College London is the UK lead partner for ELEGANCY, and will contribute ground-breaking new research in CO2 storage, developing an open-source modelling framework for the design and evaluation of integrated H2-CCS chains, and applying the research findings to a detailed national case study. The research will be carried out by a multi-disciplinary team led by Professor Martin Trusler, Professor Nilay Shah, Dr Ronny Pini (Department of Chemical Engineering), Dr Sam Krevor (Department of Earth Science and Engineering) and Dr Niall Mac Dowell (Centre for Environmental Policy).

Funded by Accelerating CCUS Technologies (ACT), the project has the support of governments in five countries, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the UK. Brian Allison, Assistant Head of CCUS R&D and Innovation for BEIS, said: “This is an exciting and ambitious project which aims to support the development of CCUS technologies in the UK. It demonstrates the power of international collaboration not only among scientists, but also governments and policy-makers.”

Professor Nilay Shah, ELEGANCY WP4 Leader and Head of Chemical Engineering at Imperial added: “National governments are increasingly recognising the need for hydrogen as a large-scale, low-carbon energy vector that will complement electricity and other low carbon liquid/gaseous fuels in a decarbonised society. We are leading the development of modelling tools that allow the design and analysis of end-to-end systems for hydrogen production and CO2 transport and storage, which will support the national case studies and help to design effective, low carbon future energy and industrial systems.”

Research presented at the conference will include:

Laboratory studies to understand the controls of flow and transport for CO2 storage, Dr Ronny Pini, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London

Dr Pini will be presenting innovative research aimed at improving experts’ fundamental understanding of fluid behaviour and flow in the context of Geologic Carbon Sequestration (GCS), using imaging techniques which enable an unprecedented level of observational details into structure and processes. This work aims to improve the engineering design for carbon capture and storage which, in order to be effective, relies on the ability to demonstrate that physical and chemical trapping work effectively towards retaining the injected CO2 into the subsurface.

 H21 Leeds Citygate, Dan Sadler, Northern Gas Networks

Dan Sadler will present H21 Leeds Citygate, an industry first which provides a detailed engineering solution for converting the gas network across the North of England to hydrogen, paving the way for deep decarbonisation of heat in the UK. The project will provide practical solutions for combining carbon capture and storage with the production of hydrogen to deliver low-carbon heat for major Northern cities whilst capturing up to 20 million tonnes of CO2 per annum by 2035. Overall, 3.7 million-meter points, around 17% of the total UK domestic meter connections, will be converted, and a 12.15GW hydrogen production facility brought into operation coupled with 8TWh inter-seasonal hydrogen storage. 

A nation-wide roll-out of the programme is planned for 2026 to 2045, which will be the base case investigated in the ELEGANCY UK case study, in particular the first phase rollout to three cities and associated industrial clusters, complemented with technical and commercial feasibility studies from a petrochemicals industry perspective. In addition, ELEGANCY research will be included as supporting material for the UK H21 Roadmap, ahead of the scheduled key policy decision and commitment to build in 2021.

ELEGANCY national case studies, Dr Gunhild A. Reigstad, SINTEF

Each country participating in the ELEGANCY project has a unique set of opportunities and challenges that must be handled to ensure fast and efficient implementation of hydrogen – CCS systems. The national case studies of ELEGANCY are designed to address core issues and provide solutions with the aid of technological and business case solutions developed within the project. They raise questions including how to efficiently distribute hydrogen to consumers, what the optimal incremental infrastructure development scheme is, and how public and private partnerships can secure the realisation of the hydrogen business cases.

National implementation strategies are developed based on central research results from the project, aiming at acceleration of implementation of hydrogen - CCS systems in the participating countries of ELEGANCY. Main features of each case study will be presented at the conference, together with an overview of how the studies in total cover a wide range of issues related to hydrogen-CCS systems and business cases.

The conference will take place in Brussels on 8 November 2018; see the website for more information on research being presented.

Find out more about the ELEGANCY project on their website.


Sara West

Sara West
Communications Division

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