Tuesday, December 21, 2021

New Project Explores Technology as Carbon Capture Cannot Rely on Pipelines Alone

Dedicated New Design Vessels Will Be Required to Transport Waste Gases
Shipping News Feature

NORWAY – WORLDWIDE – Climate change has accelerated the process whereby different sectors of business are coming together to both fight off the problem whilst hopefully making a profit in doing so. This upsurge in joint industry projects (JIPs) has led to a cooperation between some giants of their own fields to work together in a project just announced.

Classification society DNV is getting together with Equinor, Shell, TotalEnergies and Gassco to develop low-pressure solutions for the transportation of CO2 by ships. The CETO (CO2 Efficient Transport via Ocean) JIP will carry out the technology qualification of a low-pressure ship design and identify solutions to scale CO2 transportation volume while reducing the associated risks, to support the development of opportunities in carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The partners believe that carbon capture and storage will be a key technology if the world is to meet the goals of the Paris and Glasgow agreements and CETO is funded by the project partners and GASSNOVA, the Norwegian state enterprise intended to develop such CCS technologies, through the CLIMIT programme and is expected to be completed in 2023.

Although the technologies and the industry are very much still emerging, a possible challenge is connecting capture sources to facilities for use or storage sites, especially where pipelines are not an option. As a result the partners believe CO2 transport ship technology will be needed if large quantities are to be safely transported at costs that are commercially viable. Today, most transport of CO2 via ship takes place at small scale and at medium pressure (15 bar at -28ºC), limiting the possibilities of scaling up to meet future growth in CCS.

To transport CO2 safely and efficiently at industrial scale by ship, low pressure transport systems (approx. 7 bar at -49ºC) are a potential solution, as this enables much larger tank volumes, cargo capacities and therefore reduced transportation costs. However, the industry currently has little practical experience with the transport of liquid CO2 (LCO2) under these conditions.

This new JIP looks to build experience in low pressure transport and fill a vital knowledge gap, by examining the fundamentals of a low-pressure CO2 transport chain, including:

  • An LCO2 ship design, with low pressure tank and cargo handling system
  • Material choice and testing
  • Medium scale testing and simulation of cargo handling
  • Conditioning and liquefaction
  • Testing LCO2 behaviour at low pressure

All of the partners had something to say about the project, and all are obviously keen on the concept of carbon capture, not a view that everybody holds it has to be said. Johan Petter Tutturen, VP, Special Projects – Gas at DNV was first up when he said:

“As an important part of tackling the climate crisis, reducing costs across the whole CCS value chain is essential. Low pressure CO2 ship designs are a potentially important piece of the chain, but they need to be reliable and meet accepted safety standards. That is why we are very pleased to be working together with this strong consortium of CCS stakeholders to identify the technical risks and challenges to enable safe and economical operations going forward.”

Elisabeth Birkeland, VP for Carbon capture and storage solutions in Equinor was more cocise commenting that her company believes that low pressure ship transport is an interesting way to scale up CO2 transport solutions, but it was still necessary to make sure the technical risks are reduced to an acceptable level making this project so important.

The CETO JIP is named after Ceto, who is a primordial sea goddess in Greek mythology, and builds on an earlier project carried out by the partners that investigated the technology gaps and identified qualification activities to demonstrate that the technologies offer the required levels of operational safety and reliability. Bruno Pahlawan, VP R&D Line Sustainability, TotalEnergies concluded:

“We are very pleased to be part of this initiative, alongside our partners, to develop low pressure CO2 ship carriers. This future technology will open the door to the large-scale transport of CO2, which is an essential element for the upscaling of the CCS industry. It is fully in line with TotalEnergies’ ambition to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 together with society, for its global business across its production and energy products used by its customers.”

Photo: Courtesy DNV.