The European research project COCATE, just being signed and starting in January 2010, tackles the problems of rolling out a shared transportation infrastructure capable of connecting geological storage sites with various medium size CO2-emitting industrial facilities located within a close geographical proximity. This three-year project has a total budget of €4.5 million (US$6.6 million), nearly €3 million of which is contributed by the European Commission.
Led by IFP (France), the project brings together eight other research and industrial partners: the Le Havre Region Development Agency (France), Geogreen (France), Accoat (Denmark), SINTEF Energy Research (Norway), DNV (Norway), TNO (Netherlands), Port of Rotterdam NV (Netherlands) and SANERI (South Africa).
COCATE’s objective is to analyze the conditions for transporting the flue gases emitted from several CO2-emitting industrial facilities with a view to pooling the capture process, and for exporting large quantities of captured CO2 to storage areas. While major industrial facilities can be fitted with their own CO2 capture and transport installations, this does not apply to units that emit less CO2—from a few tens of thousands to several hundred thousand metric tons—and for which the investment required would be uneconomic. They must pool the CO2 capture and transportation system in order to cut costs and to make CCS an affordable technology.
The Le Havre region and the Port of Rotterdam have been selected as test sites for the research work conducted by the partners involved in the COCATE project. The transportation infrastructure being considered includes two types of network:
A local low-pressure network to collect the flue gases emitted by various Le Havre-based industrial companies and transport it to various capture centers; and
A high-pressure network to transport the captured CO2 to the Port of Rotterdam, for storage in depleted North Sea oil and gas fields.
Transport by pipe scenarios (CO2 in supercritical state above 74 bars) or transport by boat scenarios (CO2 transported in refrigerated liquid form (-50 °C, 7 bar or -30 °C, 15 bar)) will be considered, as will different storage locations.
COCATE will review the technical limitations specific to each of these networks:
Concerning the upstream low-pressure collection network, the flue gases will be transported as they are to the treatment unit. It will be important to ensure that such transportation is technically and economically feasible (corrosion, instability, dimensioning aspects).
Concerning the high-pressure network transporting the captured CO2, the R&D work will focus more particularly on the effect of the impurities that are contained in the captured CO2.
Depending on the type of capture technology and fuel, various types of impurities can be found in the gas to be transported. The aspects concerning fluid mechanics, corrosion and the inner lining of the pipes will be incorporated.
This work will be supplemented by a risk analysis that will provide data to a safety management tool and by the production of a business model relating to cost optimization and the phase-in of the investment policy.
So far, all the R&D projects in the CO2 transportation field have been exclusively focused on the CO2 emitted by the major emitting industries, in particular power stations. As the first project dedicated to the issue of pooled CO2 treatment, COCATE should allow medium-sized production sites located in the same geographic area to cut their CO2 emissions in the same way as major industrial facilities.