Lead Research Organisation: University of Sussex
Department Name: Sch of Business Management & Economics


The UK has challenging GHG reduction targets. It is believed that carbon capture and storage (CCS) will play a critical role in the energy systems of the future, in part to support the decarbonisation objective and in part to provide grid flexibility in a future system including a large fraction of less responsive low carbon energy systems (e.g. nuclear baseload and intermittent wind). The whole systems modelling and analysis programme proposed here is designed to support wider UK initiatives by reducing technological risk and identifying performance bottlenecks. CCS will require substantial capital investment in capture and transport systems and storage complex management. Although elements of the whole chain have been studied through modelling and experimentation, there is little work on whole system assessment. For complex systems such as CCS, whole system assessment is vital ahead of large scale deployment as it identifies critical integration and interaction issues between the components and evaluates whole system performance as a function of component design parameters. Thus the whole system may be optimised; simply optimising the design of individual components is likely to result in a sub-optimal system design. The proposed research methodology is based on multiscale modelling. This involves the development of fit-for-purpose models of the individual components which describe phenomena that operate over different length and time scales and which support integration and data exchange across scales. The reason for this is that relatively localised phenomena (e.g. mass transfer in an amine scrubber) might affect the overall system transient response by limiting the rate at which the power plant flue gas flowrate can be turned up or down. Similarly, the important performance trade-offs in individual component designs must be characterised and used for overall system design. There are a number of important issues to be resolved regarding future CCS systems; the applicants believe that multiscale systems modelling approach is ideal to develop relevant insights and guidance. Examples of the issues to be addressed through whole systems modelling, analysis and optimisation include: - The development and application of a methodology to optimise the time-phased evolution of the whole CCS system design (incorporating its important individual components), including sources to recruit and location of storage sites, balancing long-term and short-term investment imperatives. - Performing integrated assessments of alternative CCS systems, through the application of fit-for-purpose models (e.g. those able to quantify trace emissions of harmful substances) and rigorous life-cycle based analyses. - Characterising the transient performance of the integrated system (how will it perform in actual operation?), understanding whether or not it affects the flexibility of the wider energy system with which it is interfaced, what the safety critical components are and the network's dynamic stability and operability bottlenecks - Understand issues of systems integration - how do the different phenomena associated with the different components in the system cause effects to propagate through the network (e.g. the effect of impurities in captured CO2, the transport network and the storage complex). What are the important considerations that must be taken into consideration when designing and operating the whole system? The outcome of the programme will be relevant to a very wide range of stakeholders interested in CCS, including industry, regulatory and policy agencies and academia. The most important contributions of the project will be: - making available methodologies to design and analyse future CCS systems - generating insights into the most important interactions involved in system design and operation - quantifying (economics, environmental impact, safety & operability) the performance of UK CCS systems


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Description The PhD studentship that was associated with this award led to the following key findings:

1. The research explored the potential effects of the deployment of carbon, capture and storage technologies on the diversity of the UK electricity system between now and 2050. It demonstrated that the UK electricity system is likely to diversify regardless of whether CCS technologies are deployed or not. However, the pathway of diversification differs according to whether or not CCS technologies are deployed.

2. The research explored how key variables and constraints are likely to influence the deployment of CCS and what impact this could have on the diversity of the UK electricity system. It found that the changes in diversity observed are dependent on the effect that each of these key variables/constraints have on the number of technologies deployed in the system (variety), the proportional contribution of each of these technologies make to the system (balance) and how the technologies deployed differ from one another (disparity). Four sets of assumptions were varied in addressing this issue: fossil fuel prices, CCS build rates, CCS capital costs and CCS hurdle rates. The results show that if you increase fossil fuel prices then this reduces the deployment of CCS technologies, if you increase CCS build rates then this increases the deployment of CCS technologies, if you increase the CCS capital costs then this decreases the deployment of CCS technologies and in you increase the CCS hurdle rate then you decrease the deployment of CCS technologies. In general, an increase in the capacity of CCS in the electricity system decreases the overall diversity of the system. This is because in the presence of CCS technologies, other low carbon technologies are deployed to a lesser extent which reduces the variety and balance of generating technologies needed to meet demand in the scenarios and hence reduces the diversity profiles.

3. The research explored the relative emphasis stakeholders place on the various aspects of technology performance affect their appraisal of electricity system diversity in different scenarios. The results show that different emphasis placed by stakeholders on different criteria during the technology performance appraisal subsequently affects the diversity of the electricity generating system. The effect of diversity depends on whether this emphasis leads to a more or less disparate perspective on the differences between the technologies in that portfolio.
Exploitation Route The research developed a generalisable methodology that could be applied to different country contexts, or to other potential energy technology portfolios.
Sectors Energy

Description The main contribution was via the analysis of the implications of future energy system portfolios that include CCS technologies for the diversity of the UK electricity system. Through a PhD studentship, scenarios for the future UK energy system were analysed from a diversity perspective, and the views of stakeholders about diversity were explored. The main impacts of the research were to inform more systematic thinking about the role of CCS - and the potential implications of the role of CCS in the future UK energy system for energy security (and specifically, for diversity)
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

Description S.J. Darby. Interview with Andrej Zawierko, PhD student at the VU Amsterdam, on prospects for residential demand response. 12th July 2016. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact S.J. Darby. Interview with Andrej Zawierko, PhD student at the VU Amsterdam, on prospects for residential demand response. 12th July 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016