CO2 Optimised Compression ('COZOC')

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Research and Graduate Services


Nottingham see this research as the opportunity to start the full research into a complicated combination of compressor technology and CO2 behaviour. As such it is the first stage of two, and will establish the likely behaviour of a centrifugal, barrel pump type compressor and examine the likely effects of impurities in the gas on the behaviour during compression. This opportunity to work alongside a major manufacturer of high pressure-high volume compressors for methane delivery and a major supplier of power plant consultancy and turnkey power plant puts UK research at the forefront of a high need technology. Current demands and future predictions indicate that CO2 capture and long term storage in depleted oil and gas wells is set to increase. It will require a novel compressor technology to do it effectively, since the behaviour of CO2 is particularly complicated by its transition to the super critical state over the required pressure range. Additional unknown complexity is introduced by impurities in the exhaust combustion gas stream. Compression is done in a number of stages to satisfy the demands of the Laws of Thermodynamics, the required machine efficiency and the particular thermodynamic characteristics of the fluid. A single stage will be modelled in the first instance, requiring high speed rotating flow modelling together with compressibility effects of the fluid that is worked upon. This extremely demanding computational modelling work therefore requires at this stage a mechanical engineering project to model the un-measurable characteristics of a CO2 compressor starting with a current pump design used for methane, to establish the modelling technique. It also requires a chemical engineering project to gather all the current knowledge on CO2 compression and delivery and the effects on the gas of including impurities as the various pressure stages are passed through. This combination of effort will then be driven forward to produce a model of the whole process, by projection of single stage modelling, to model the overall effect of processing the CO2. The two post doctoral researchers will be joined by a post graduate researcher on a PhD, who will work on the mechanical side over three years, investigating the more fundamental characteristics of the fluid behaviour in computational models. This key person will, by the time the other two reserch contracts have finished, be in a strong position to continue the work and to link to the second stage of the work. The aim of the overall project with industrial partners is to not be limited by current technology. Nottingham is very interested in assessing the effect of impurities in CO2. The work package 1 review of literature will find out what real testing should be done for the next stage of the work. With interstage cooling there are potential gains. Together we are looking to second generation compressor development, and this first stage of that work will develop the basic principles for a second stage project which proposes to conduct experimental investigation together with further numerical development of a practical application.


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Ke J (2010) Detecting phase transitions in supercritical mixtures: an enabling tool for greener chemical reactions in Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

Description Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technologies can significantly reduce the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The pipeline transport of CO2 is a fundamental technology that will underpin a large proportion of future CCS applications. Prior to transportation, compression of the CO2 stream will be required to allow for efficient cost effective transportation. A key challenge is how to compress huge volumes of CO2 in a safe and energy efficient manner. The presence of impurities, for example nitrogen, sulphur dioxide, oxygen present in the CO2 stream as a result of incomplete gas separation and purification during capture, add to this challenge. One of the main constraints on the design and specification of a CO2 compressor systems containing impurities from power plant is the lack of experimental data describing the phase behaviour of the CO2 stream and also the solubility limits for water in that stream. The research conducted in this project involved the determination of phase behaviour CO2 and other component gas mixtures. The ultimate aim is to provide a high precision tool to inform the phase behaviour of CO2 and impurity mixtures.

This research was conducted by an interdisciplinary team at Nottingham involving the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and the School of Chemistry in collaboration with two industrial partners Rolls Royce and E.ON (TSB COZOC project). The research conducted fulfilled all of the original aims of this project. Prior to the experimental research, a literature review explored the composition of typical flue gases and determine target mixtures resulting from CCS for experimentation. The University of Nottingham is a world-leader in conducting experiments of this nature. Experimental data was fed to the industrial partners and provided a very valuable input for the optimised design of compressors for CO2. Data from the experimental research, in the form of physical property data (density, specific heat, entropy, enthalpy), previously not reported in the literature were measured and calculated, and compared to a range of equations of state to provide guidance to the industrial partners on their validity and variability.
Exploitation Route The research findings of this project have established an important data-set for the design of CO2 compressors and has wider impact and relevance to the whole CCS transport system. Firstly, the key output of the literature reviews conducted has resulted in a priority list of principal CO2 and impurity mixtures for phase behaviour determination, as well as principal corrosive species and vulnerable compressor components. Secondly, the understanding gained in this project of the phase behaviour of CO2 impurity mixtures is critical for compressor design. The phase boundary is very important as the need to intercool close to it, and therefore, the inherent power benefits associated with doing so). Moreover, it should also be highlighted the novel, low power and flexible compression concepts developed through the project which may be patented. This research represents a knowledge and skill base extension into a valuable new field by providing collaborative links internally between Chemical Engineering and Chemistry disciplines, in addition to the extension of collaborations with industrial partners E-ON and Rolls-Royce. The optimised design of compressors for CO2 is a crucial component for the wide deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies that have been recognized as a crucial tool to achieve the UK target of reducing CO2 emissions. This ultimately extends to the global issue of energy and climate change by facilitating the development of CCS technologies. The TSB will see the benefit to Trade and Industry in terms of providing a UK based provider of this advanced and novel technology. The ability to improve CO2 compression systems will be key once CCS technology becomes commonplace (as it must regarding the current drivers on protecting the environment) and will place UK research in a strong position to contribute to the world knowledge in this fast developing area. At a local level, it provided Post Doctoral research training in a very focused research area, while gaining cross-disciplinary expertise contact within the University, and exposure to the industrial context. The project has also identified an experimental programme for corrosion studies and a plan for completion of any further identified gas properties / phase behaviour determination. Finally, the compression concepts developed through the project may be patented.
Sectors Energy,Environment

Description The research findings of this project have established an important dataset for the design of CO2 compressors and has wider impact and relevance to the whole CCS transport system. The understanding gained of the phase behaviour of CO2 impurity mixtures is critical for compressor design. There is also potential impact on terms of providing a UK based provider advanced compressor concepts.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic

Description EPSRC CDT
Amount £4,324,694 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L016419/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2014 
End 10/2022
Description Materials for Next Generation CO2 Transport Systems (MATTRAN)
Amount £1,543,879 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/G061955/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2009 
End 07/2013