CO2 fingerprint method to be tested in Alberta

Sep 25 2017


The method developed at Edinburgh University that inexpensively monitors the safe storage of CO2 is to be used by a leading research project in Canada.

The test that can determine the source of a CO2 sample by analysing its chemical fingerprint. The method will be put to use at a $5 million CCS test site in Alberta operated by Carbon Management Canada.

"The chemical fingerprint of captured CO2 varies depending on the capture technology used. This will be useful for tracking CO2 injected into storage sites and means that in most cases there is no need to add expensive artificial tracers," said Dr Stephanie Flude, School of GeoSciences.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh developed the test by showing that the chemical fingerprint of CO2 captured from power plants remains recognisable after it is injected underground.

This enables stored industrial CO2 to be distinguished from other sources of CO2, such as groundwater or natural emissions from plants and bacteria.

The team verified the method by studying the chemical fingerprint of CO2 from experimental storage sites in Australia and Canada.

They sampled gas before and after its injection into underground storage and found that the fingerprints remained identifiable.

They also found that changes to the fingerprints during storage gave insights into behaviour of the CO2 underground.

In the same study, samples from CO2 from industrial sites and power plants around the world revealed how the chemical signature of CO2 varies with the source of the emissions, such as coal, gas or biomass.

Their research, published in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

"Our study paves the way for inexpensive monitoring of CO2 underground for safe, secure storage. We look forward to working with Carbon Management Canada in applying our findings at the new Canadian CCS test site, which will demonstrate the exciting methods we have developed," said Dr Stuart Gilfillan, School of GeoSciences.

University of Edinburgh


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Issue 58 July - Aug 2017

CCS in Australia: Loy Yang post combustion carbon capture PICA pilot plant .. Otway project moves to Phase 3 .. CarbonNet progresses to commercial phase .. Australian carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage: are we there yet? New test campaign at Tec.....


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