Multiscale whole systems modelling and analysis for CO2 capture, transport and storage

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Earth Science and Engineering


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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Biliyok C (2012) Dynamic modelling, validation and analysis of post-combustion chemical absorption CO2 capture plant in International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control

Description The grant helped develop:
- Static and dynamic models for post combustion and oxyfuel CO2 capture plants
- A multi-period least cost optimisation model for a carbon dioxide capture transportation and storage infrastructure for the UK
- Key performance indicators to assess the CO2 storage capacity and performance for the North Sea geological formations
- Life Cycle Impact Assessment model for Pre-combustion CO2 capture, transport and storage systems for coal and natural gas
Exploitation Route The research findings have been partly used/utilised by the Energy Technologies Institute through their role on the Steering Committee of the project. Research Consortium members have successfully secured new EPSRC funding to utilise their findings in follow-up projects to develop new knowledge. These findings and further research led to results used by the BG Group and The Crown Estate in their work. The UK and international industry can also use the research findings in their CO2 storage activities as the findings are widely published and the partners are open to further discussions.
Sectors Energy,Environment

Description The project outcomes have been used in advising the BG Group on Life Cycle Impacts of their conventional and unconventional natural gas production, pipeline and/or LNG transport around the world, power generation, CO2 capture and storage as well as use in EoR. BG Group uses the tools developed during and since the project for their policy development and comparison with clean coal alternatives. The project outcomes and the follow-up research carried out since is also used in advising the Crown Estate on their policy and plans towards valuation and the leasing of the CO2 storage sites in the North Sea. Through the Crown Estate, and their role in different task forces on CO2 capture and storage, the project outcomes are informing the government decisions on climate change mitigation policy. The LCA model developed in the project has been further developed since and is currently being use in assessing methane emissions from conventional and unconventional natural gas production facilities in collaboration with and funding by the Oil and Gas Industry. The findings are being used by the industry to take mitigating actions to minimise or eliminate emissions
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

Description Oil and Gas Climate Initiative
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact informed strategic decisions taken by multinational companies in the energy sector
Description United Nations Economic Comission for Europe
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact informed policy decisions at international level
Description CO2 injection and storage ? short and long-term behaviour at different spatial scales
Amount £1,212,205 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K035967/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2013 
End 02/2017
Description Oil and Gas Industry Climate Initiative
Amount £500,000 (GBP)
Organisation Oil and Gas Climate Initiative 
Start 12/2016 
End 09/2019
Description Process Intensification for Post-combustion Carbon Capture using Rotating Packed Bed through Systems Engineering Techniques
Amount £1,274,400 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M001458/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 03/2017
Description Sustainable Gas Institute via the BG Group
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Organisation BG Group 
Sector Private
Country Unknown
Start 09/2016 
End 09/2019
Description The Crown Estate research funds
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Crown Estate 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2015 
End 04/2016
Title CO2 transport and storage network optimisation 
Description Uses the CO2stored database and/or user defined input data to examine optimal future CO2 transport and storage network configurations that meet required decorbonisaton targets (user defined inputs) while considering market constraints (CO2 price, natural gas/oil price etc) 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Informing DECC decisions, consultations with the EU and Zero Emissions Platform 
Title Imperial College LCA model (ICLCA) 
Description Full value chain LCA model of fossil fuel production processing, transport, power generation, CO2 capture, transport and storage for coal and natural gas value chains 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact BG Group 
Title Life cycle cost model for CO2 transport and storage 
Description database and modelling tool for costing individual CO2 storage sites (saline aquifers and depleted reservoirs) 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The Crown Estate 
Title Real Options analysis for individual CO2 storage sites 
Description Evaluates development options for a given CO2 storage site given the uncertainties in CO2 storage site capacity, subsidies and policy support 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The Crown Estate is using the tool developed to assess leasing options and timing for individual storage sites 
Description Attendance and presentations at the UKCCSRC Bi-Annual Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented the findings of the RCUK funded projects to the audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015
Description Attended the CO2GeoNet Venice Open Forums as a founding member and made presentations and media releases 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented the research findings to an international audience and joined dicussions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013