Two industry associations — the Integrated CO2 Network (ICO2N) and Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC ) — together with international partners and the Alberta Department of Energy have joined to undertake a study for determining the purity needs for capture, transport and storage of CO2 as part of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) system in Canada.

The study will be facilitated by PTAC to secure funding from provincial and federal governments, issue the request for proposals, manage the contracts and disseminate the information.

Determining the overall level of CO2 purity is necessary for establishing the optimal conditions under which CO2 capture, transportation, long-term storage and enhanced oil recovery can occur. Capture processing costs increase to meet higher quality CO2 specifications, and capture purity varies by industry and the choice of CO2 capture technology.

Enhanced oil recovery markets can be compromised by poorer quality specifications. In addition, pipeline specification standards designed to protect CO2 pipelines will also influence the optimal CO2 purity determination.

The study will examine CO2 purity, contaminants, temperature and pressure, and looks to build on Alberta’s extensive CCS knowledge. It seeks the balancing point for purity requirements and cost effectiveness as it pertains to all stages of a CCS system — capture, transportation, sequestration, as well as enhanced oil recovery use.

There has been a lot of research on CCS in Alberta and the development of a CO2 purity standard will serve as an essential piece of information in developing Alberta’s CCS infrastructure.

“This study exemplifies collaboration and partnership among oil and gas producers, emitters and transporters at the national and international level,” said Soheil Asgarpour, PTAC president.

“ICO2N is very fortunate to have access to proprietary CO2 capture information, from its members, on which to build this analysis,” added Robert Craig, director of Strategy & Technology for ICO2N. “We are pleased to be able to collaborate with organizations locally and globally in understanding this significant technology, its effectiveness and financial costs.”

The CO2 purity study is expected to be completed in early 2011.

Studies by ICO 2N indicate that through a phased build-up of CCS there is the potential to ultimately reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20 million tonnes per year across Alberta over the next decade — the equivalent of annually removing more than four million cars from the road.

With the right long-term approach, reductions could grow to more than 100 million tonnes per year, roughly 13% of Canada’s current emissions. •

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