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Power news round-up - November 2011

23 November 2011

TWI work on ionic liquids for carbon dioxide capture

TWI is developing a core competency in the design of ionic liquids as environmentally friendly solvents for industrial applications. To date, we have successfully developed a range of these materials for the selective recycling of high-purity polymers from mixed waste and are currently involved in the design of novel media for extractions, liquid-phase processing and carbon dioxide capture. Ionic liquids (ILs) are a promising alternative to existing CCS processes, due to their ability to dissolve high concentrations of CO2, their high chemical and thermal stability, low volatility and environmentally benign characteristics. Research groups in the US have successfully engineered basic CO2 capture chemistries into ionic liquids, offering comparable performance to conventional amine-based scrubbing systems. Research within TWI is focussing on the development of more efficient, cost-effective media capable of the reversible capture of large volumes of CO2 and the concomitant optimization of the chemical engineering of the capture unit. The IL technology also has major potential for CO2 separation from natural gas resources.

In addition, TWI is involved in the development of alternative CCS technologies employing catalysis to efficiently convert CO2 into high-value chemical feedstocks, suitable for onward use in the manufacture of fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, polymers, solvents and fuels. These processes hinge around the ability to readily and cost-effectively convert CO2 into a more versatile intermediate in the first step, thereby overcoming the fundamental unreactivity of the molecule and permitting its re-exploitation in the industrial carbon cycle. For further details please contact us.

Brian Cane, Industry Sector Manager for Power
Brian Cane, Industry Sector Manager for Power

NDT – Florence 2011 conference

Dr Brian Cane gave the keynote address at this year’s NDT – Florence 2011 conference (26 – 28 October 2011) organised by the AIPnD. Dr Cane’s paper, entitled: “Performance Improvement in the Energy Industry by Optimised Inspection & Maintenance”, endeavours to consider NDT in the context of the energy industry need for performance improvement. The concept of asset maintenance optimisation is introduced and the primary objective of reducing risk of failure is illustrated for oil & gas and power generation industries. A three phase approach including cost benefits is described:

Phase 1: Benchmarking and management processes audit                                                  

Phase 2: Implementation of risk-based inspection and maintenance planning illustrated with  TWI’s RISKWISE software applications to process plant, pipelines and power station boilers                                                                                               

Phase 3: Life management by quantitative cost-risk optimisation

A particular NDT challenge in mitigating risks of high temperature component failure through high sensitivity pre-crack creep damage assessment is highlighted for application to new and ageing plant. Finally, the NDT context is summarised for each of the above phases.

Carbon Capture and Storage Conference in Scotland

In September Herriot Watt University, Edinburgh hosted the second Industrial Power Association (IPA) Conference on Carbon Capture and Storage(CCS).  IPA is a Scottish based membership organisation comprising companies from Scotland and beyond with Power interests in Scotland.  This year’s conference was well attended by delegates from around the world.  TWI was on show at the event with a newly developed display stand identifying a wide range of CCS capabilities including: Advanced CO2 Capture Technologies, Advanced joining Technologies, Risk Assessment, Integrity Management, Advanced Non Destructive Testing, Corrosion assessment,  Advanced Materials and Coatings Technologies. 

The conference was attended by TWI’s new Energy Industry Sector Manager, Steven Stocks and Ujjwal Bharadwaj from Asset Integrity Management.

Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference

The second Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference took place in Edinburgh in September and was attended by TWI’s new Energy Industry Sector Manager Steven Stocks.  The conference, organised jointly by Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, aimed at identifying and debating the key issues associated with raising the finance necessary for delivering Scottish, and more widely UK and global, low carbon technologies, principally in the areas of offshore renewables.  Keynote speakers at the conference included Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland and former US Vice President Al Gore.  The conference was informed by new Energy Finance that despite a difficult economic climate in 2011, investments in low carbon technology are expected to be high and possibly reach record levels with falling technology costs being driving factor.  It was also highlighted that non-Chinese emerging markets such as South America, Africa and India will become increasingly important in this sector in coming years.  Further, it was forecast that combined wind and solar generation capacity will rise globally from around 250 GW currently to 2,000 GW in 2030.

In the offshore renewables sector, Scottish Enterprise published a new report at conference focusing on the potential for levering Scottish and wider UK advantage in the sector by identifying  key areas were established offshore oil and gas industry experience could be exploited in the emerging offshore wind domain.  Discussion in this area confirmed that costs must be significantly reduced (by around 30% as commented by Scottish & Southern Energy CEO Ian Marchant) and this should be achieved by the development and deployment of specifically designed offshore systems that can be produced more rapidly and at lower cost than those currently deployed in the Oil & Gas sector. Also in this sector, First Minister Alex Salmond announced that TWI member company Aquamarine Power was to receive a further £7m of investment to continue their programme of the development and demonstration of their “Oyster” wave energy device.

In the area of Carbon Capture and Storage, Scottish Enterprise launched a report at conference identifying opportunities and issues in the establishment of CO2 transportation infrastructure.