DNV GL is set to perform the biggest controlled release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from an underwater pipeline at its Spadeadam Testing and Research Centre in Cumbria, UK, to understand the environmental and safety implications.
The release is part of an international joint industry project (JIP) called Sub-C-O2 aimed at understanding the environmental and safety implications associated with the development of CO2 pipelines. It will begin in January 2016.
Norway's Gassnova, Brazil's Petrobras, the UK Government's Department of Energy and Climate Change, the UK's National Grid and DNV GL are participating in the JIP, with Italy-based ENI expected to join in early 2016.
According to the company, this is the second experimental phase and will continue for three months involving releases in a 40m diameter, 12m deep pond at the centre.
The first phase of experiments are underway and involve small-scale, controlled CO2 releases from a 3in nominal bore pipeline in a 8.5m diameter, 3m deep water tank. These experiments are expected to be completed by December.
DNV GL Spadeadam safety and risk vice-president Gary Tomlin said: "This is the largest experimental investigation to date of underwater CO2 releases, which will study the effects of depth on measured and observed parameters.
"The testing is designed around what is already known about underwater natural gas (methane) leaks and the possible occurrence of CO2 hydrates collecting on pipework.
"By using high-speed, underwater cameras and other measurement techniques, we can examine the configuration and characteristics of the released gas. It will allow us to see whether it reaches the surface and analyse what happens."
The international certification body said CO2 emissions from power plants and large industrial sources can be reduced by installing offshore CO2 pipelines linked to depleted subsea gas reservoirs.
In April 2016, the company will open a new hazard training and conference facility at the site.
DNV GL - Oil & Gas UK and Sub Saharan Africa regional manager Hari Vamadevan said: "Developing best practice guidance through this groundbreaking project will help the CCUS industry establish itself as it begins the rollout of vital carbon abatement technology.
"The data gathered from this large-scale experimental programme will enable adjustments to be made to computer modelling of CO2 dispersion."
CO2 testing at Spadeadam is set to be completed by June 2016.
DNV GL Spadeadam Testing and Research is situated in 50ha of Ministry of Defence land in the north of England and is designed to carry out full-scale hazardous trials and simulate real-world environments.
Image: The release is aimed at understanding the environmental and safety implications associated with the development of CO2 pipelines. Photo: © DNV GL AS.