Alberta carbon solution makes use of industrial emissions

Tuesday, 09 June, 2020

Alberta carbon solution makes use of industrial emissions

Canada’s Enhance Energy has announced that the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) system — claimed to be the world’s newest integrated, large-scale carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) system — became fully operational this month. The ACTL includes participation from multiple partners to capture industrial emissions and deliver CO2 to mature oil and gas reservoirs in central Alberta for use in enhanced oil recovery and permanent storage. At full capacity, the pipeline can transport up to 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year, which represents approximately 20% of all current oil sands emissions or is equal to the impact of capturing the CO2 from more than 2.6 million cars in Alberta. It also makes it currently the world’s largest capacity pipeline for transporting CO2 from human activity.

The company says “not only does the ACTL system remove greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and decrease Canada’s carbon footprint, it uses the captured CO2 to revitalise a light oil industry, leveraging Alberta’s wealth of suitable storage reservoirs, technical expertise and innovative spirit to create thousands of new jobs and generate meaningful tax revenue”.

The ACTL system currently captures CO2 at the North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) Sturgeon Refinery and Nutrien’s Redwater Fertilizer Facility, offering a sustainable emissions solution for energy and agriculture sectors by removing the waste CO2. The CO2 is transported via the pipeline to mature oil fields in central Alberta for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) before permanent storage. The gas is pumped into the ground to assist with the extraction of oil, where the company says it remains.

The carbon capture element of the process involves purifying and separating the CO2 from other constituents to make the stream free of water and a minimum of 95% CO2 purity. To create a valuable and useable product the stream must also be compressed to a higher pressure and then transported by pipeline to the EOR operation.

Utilisation in the EOR operation is via injection into a carefully selected hydrocarbon reservoir via an injection well. This results in unrecovered oil being flushed from the pore spaces of the reservoir rock and being pushed to the producing wells, where it is pumped to the surface and recovered. This produces an incremental quantity of oil that would not be recovered through conventional means.

The selected storage reservoir has specific geological characteristics that ensure CO2 is safely and permanently stored deep within the formation, thereby reducing overall CO2 emissions. Any CO2 that is produced during the oil recovery operation is immediately reinjected and recycled back into the reservoir such that all injected CO2 is permanently sequestered, according to the company.

Designed with excess capacity, the system will connect more facilities and storage reservoirs in the future as demand increases for an effective solution to manage emissions, according to the company.

Image credit: ACTL.

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