Transporting the next generation of CO2 for carbon capture and storage: The impact of impurities on supercritical CO2 pipelines

P.N. Seevam, J.M. Race, M.J. Downie, P. Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change has been attributed to greenhouse gases with carbon dioxide (C02) being the major contributor. Most of these C02 emissions originate from the burning of fossil fuels (e.g. power plants). Governments and industry worldwide are now proposing to capture C02 from their power plants and either store it in depleted reservoirs or saline aquifers ('Carbon Capture and Storage1 CCS) or use it for 'Enhanced Oil Recovery' (EOR) in depleting oil and gas fields. The capture of this anthropogenic (man made sources of C02) C02 will mitigate global warming and possibly reduce the impact of climate change. The United States has over 30 years experience with the transportation of carbon dioxide by pipeline mainly from naturally occurring relatively pure C02 sources for onshore EOR. CCS projects differ significantly from this past experience as they will be focusing on anthropogenic sources from major polluters such as fossil fuel power plants and the necessary C02 transport infrastructure will involve both long distance onshore and offshore pipelines. Also the fossil fuel power plants will produce C02 with varying combinations of impurities depending on the capture technology used. CO 2 pipelines have never been designed for these differing conditions; therefore CCS will introduce a new generation of C02 for transport. Application of current design procedures to the new generation pipelines is likely to yield an over-designed pipeline facility with excessive investment and operating cost. In particular the presence of impurities has a significant impact on the physical properties of the transported C02 which affects: pipeline design; compressor/pump power; repressurisationdistance; pipeline capacity. These impurities could also have implications in the fracture control of the pipeline. All these effects have direct implications for both the technical and economic feasibility of developing a carbon dioxide transport infrastructure onshore and offshore. This paper compares and contrasts the current experience of transporting C02 onshore with the proposed transport onshore and offshore for CCS. It covers studies on the effect of physical and transport properties (hydraulics) on key technical aspects of pipeline transportation and the implications for designing and operating a pipeline for C02 containing impurities. The studies reported in the paper have significant implications for future C02 transportation and highlight a number of knowledge gaps that will have to be filled to allow for the efficient and economic design of pipelines for this 'next' generation of anthropogenic C02.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event2008 ASME International Pipeline Conference, IPC 2008 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Duration: 29 Sept 20083 Oct 2008
Conference number: 77588


Conference2008 ASME International Pipeline Conference, IPC 2008
Abbreviated title IPC 2008
CityCalgary, Alberta


  • carbon capture and storage (CCS)
  • carbon dioxide
  • impurities
  • pipelines
  • transport
  • a-carbon
  • anthropogenic sources
  • carbon capture and storage
  • depleted reservoirs
  • design procedure
  • economic design
  • economic feasibilities
  • enhanced oil recovery
  • fracture control
  • knowledge gaps
  • long distances
  • naturally occurring
  • oil and gas fields
  • pipeline capacity
  • pipeline design
  • pipeline transportation
  • saline aquifers
  • significant impacts
  • super-critical
  • technical aspects
  • transport infrastructure
  • aquifers
  • enhanced recovery
  • fossil fuel power plants
  • fossil fuels
  • gas industry
  • global warming
  • greenhouse gases
  • hydrogeology
  • investments
  • oil fields
  • operating costs
  • petroleum reservoir evaluation
  • petroleum reservoirs
  • transport properties


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