Hull Engineers leading the way in Carbon Capture Research
A team of energy industry specialists based in Hull is carrying out vital research that could result in the Humber region becoming a global centre of excellence for carbon capture and storage.
Engineers from OSL, the gas and oil industry consultancy based in Freightliner Road, have been working on the project since the beginning of the year and recently returned from Germany where they visited a pilot project on the subject.
Carbon dioxide is a bi-product from burning fossil fuels and is regarded by many as the primary cause of global warming, acting as an insulation blanket around the Earth. It is among the most abundant of all the greenhouse gases.
OSL's team is looking at ways of capturing, compressing, transporting and storing the carbon in such a way that it meets environmental criteria and is affordable. Leading the project for OSL is process engineer Graeme Trotter. He said: "We need to find more efficient ways of capturing the carbon as it is emitted from industry's exhaust stacks – our power stations are the main source of the emissions - purify it and then transport it to safe storage."
"Storage can take place on huge lakes of salt water thousands of metres underground and on some coal-bed formations but this procedure is massively expensive. The EU is keen to see companies carry out research into new, less costly methods."
"The Humber region has the potential to become an area of technical excellence in this field. Here, we have a range of power stations, steel works and refineries that are constantly adding to the carbon levels – this is the source of the problem - while offshore we have a number of gas reservoirs that are running out of gas and therefore coming to the end of their useful life. These represent the sink.
"In layman's terms, we are carrying out research into how the carbon can be captured and compressed at source, mostly the power stations, and transported to the 'sink', the North Sea reservoirs, for storage."
Graeme added: "If we can deliver the expertise to achieve this solution, it will lead to the creation of many hundreds, possibly thousands, of new jobs in our region." Co-founder and director of OSL, Alastair Robertson, said the research was an essential part of industry's social responsibility. He added: "Only if we are serious about the development of our so-called green technology can we reap the benefits both environmentally and financially." Founded in 2005, OSL is a leading supplier of technical services and specialist knowledge to gas and oil companies in Europe and worldwide.