CMC pulls together research team for ICO2N/PTAC dew point project

Dr. David Sinton

One of the lasting legacies of Carbon Management Canada will surely be its interdisciplinary network of researchers, of research organizations, and of industry and government stakeholders.

The ability to source experts for challenge-driven projects is illustrated in a contract CMC recently managed for two Calgary organizations. Pipeline corrosion is a problem in CO2 transport and the Integrated CO2 Network (ICO2N) together with the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC) wanted to know more about the effect of impurities in the CO2 stream on the dew point of water in the stream. As long as water does not condense and remains within the supercritical CO2 phase, pipeline corrosion is minimized.

ICO2N and PTAC asked if CMC could cost effectively provide the dew points of various compositions of supercritical CO2, impurities and water. The range of combinations they wanted to test would have been cost prohibitive using traditional methods. After internal consultation with Dr. Steve Larter, CMC’s Scientific Director, we approached Dr. David Sinton, a Theme C investigator, to explore whether his new lab-on-chip technology could be adapted to the task. To verify Dr. Sinton’s results against conventional methods, we called on Dr. Weixing Chen, a Theme A investigator and an expert in corrosion studies using conventional technology.

The researchers measured four different CO2 gas compositions with various contaminant levels at varying temperatures, pressures and water content. Both determined that no dew formed at the conditions that pipelines use to transport CO2. Sinton’s new technology also demonstrated a three-fold improvement in the precision of determining dew points at specific temperatures and pressures compared to experimental data from the literature on pure CO2/water mixtures.

This effort was part of the larger Alberta CO2 Purity Project in which over 25 industry participants contributed to evaluate the effect of CO2 impurity on four components of a carbon capture and storage system (capture, transportation, enhanced oil recovery and sequestration). The data was then fed into a globally unique techno-economic model that was made publicly available in September 2014. To view Alberta Purity Report and Model Click Here.

Since this work, Dr. Sinton’s team has gone on to develop a next-generation version of the instrument that is presently undergoing lab testing and is available to develop dew point/ bubble point/ critical point curves for industry clients.