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Materials Technology Gap Analysis for Handling CO2

 

Materials Technology Gap Analysis for Handling CO2 in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and Oil and Gas Service

TWI Industrial Member Report Summary 973/2010

By: Shiladitya Paul

Background

Climate change is a major concern for most governments around the world. Evidence attributing this to anthropogenic activities in the last century or so has recently gained importance. Anthropogenic activities such as combustion of carbon-based fuels generate compounds, amongst others, carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas whose release into the atmosphere is widely acknowledged as the main cause of global warming. It is anticipated that carbon-based fuels will remain a major energy source in the foreseeable future, both in the UK and internationally, with global demand for coal set to increase by about 70% by 2030. Finding a path that meaningfully reduces CO2 emissions while utilising carbon-based fuels to meet energy demands is indeed a challenge for government and industry alike. To address issues related to climate change international organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have formed various groups one of which is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These organisations are exploring various options to stabilise atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and global temperatures without impeding economic growth or standard of living. These options can be classified into three broad categories: (a) increasing energy efficiency, (b) switching to low-carbon sources of energy, and (c) carbon sequestration.

Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), a carbon sequestration method, is recognised as one means of utilising carbon-based fuels whilst minimising the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. Primarily, this involves capturing the CO2 arising from industrial and energy-related sources, separating it from some other gases if needed, compressing it, and then transporting and injecting it into a storage site such as depleted oil and gas wells or saline aquifers to ensure long-term isolation from the atmosphere.

Although the CCS concept is based on a combination of known technologies, large scale adoption and integration of individual existing technologies poses challenges. These technological challenges range from corrosion and structural integrity of materials to safety inspection during operation. Understanding these issues, mitigating if necessary, and filling the technology gaps in full scale implementation of CCS is important for its wider adoption as a CO2 emission reduction tool.

This report summarises global initiatives and projects related to CCS, and revisits the mechanisms of corrosion of low alloy steels in CO2-containing environment.

Objective

Identify materials technological gaps in full scale implementation of CCS.

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