CO2 Free Energy from Oil?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Wordsmith, Aug 3, 2017.

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  1. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    Here's an interesting one: burning oil without CO2 emissions.

    Revolutionary Power Plant Captures All Its Carbon Emissions, At No Extra Cost
    Oil companies then inject the excess CO2 into the ground to help extract further oil, thus getting rid of it.

    It's been built into a decent size prototype.
    OK - it's not a substitute for clean, renewable energy, but it could bridge the gap while tidal energy and thorium reactors come on stream.

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  2. "At no extra cost"?

    I find that hard to believe as if you are using the CO² emitted from burning then you have to separate that from everything else, then you have to heat it, then you have to have everything to pump the excess into storage or whatever, you have all the extra structure needed for the capture, etc, so although they claim they can generate at the same cost as a "conventional" plant I have to wonder what any future construction costs will be once the assorted government departments start imposing assorted regs on them.

    It sounds good, but maybe I'm missing something because it sounds too good to be true.

    As a side note regarding the article, since when was the Bell X-1 a turbine powered aircraft, never mind the first one? Wasn't that the HE178?
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  3. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    Full scale trial plant up and running. We'll know soon enough if it's practicable. There's been some serious venture capital put into this. If it works the VC company is going to do rather well from patents.

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  4. Oh, I don't disagree with that but, as I say, it sounds too good to be true.

    We'll see how it goes, but I have a feeling costs will rise.
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  5. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    I take it that "extra" means that the infrastructure yhst would be needed for fracturing will be in place and this CO2 is free as a by-product therefore available. Once the infrastructure is in place then it is just a case of recycling the CO2, neatly taking it out of the recycling process needed to get rid of said CO2.

    I realise this is an oversimplification, but that is my take on it.
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    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    There's always a degree of journo spin on this stuff but I wouldn't bet against Professor Allam on any issue relating to gasification and associated emissions if he's allowed to describe it in his own terms.
  7. Well, he has an interest in the spin too, of course, it's his name at the centre of the hype.

    As I say, we'll wait and see.
  8. I had a look at the Allam Cycle on wikipedia. Seems there's a few details missing from the Forbes article, for example, the fact that it works best burning natural gas in pure oxygen, which would generate CO2 + water vapour. It all makes more sense when that is clear. Condense the water vapour out, and the produced CO2 is then heated and enters the system. It relies on having a market for the CO2, though, and a cheap source of oxygen.
  9. <sits back, waits for inevitable "but oxygen is 20% of the air we breathe, there's plenty of the stuff so it must be cheap">

    Found this and I have to ask what the efficiency of a "conventional" power station is

    The Oxy-Fuel, Supercritical CO2 Allam Cycle: New Cycle Developments to Produce Even Lower-Cost Electricity From Fossil Fuels Without Atmospheric Emissions | Volume 3B: Oil and Gas Applications; Organic Rankine Cycle Power Systems; Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles; Wind Energy | GT2014 | Proceedings | ASME DC

    Oh, I think there will always be a market for CO². Never mind the use in "oil recovery", there's always a need for the stuff in things from fizzy drinks and fire extinguishers to medical to industrial processes and everything in between. And, of course, there is talk of reviving it's use as a refrigerant as it doesn't screw up the ozone layer and isn't exactly flammable. So the market would be there, as it looks like the use of and demand for the stuff will only likely grow.
  10. Yes, there is a market for CO2, but in economic terms it has a high place value. It has to be produced local to the demand to make it economic.
  11. As noted the process doesn't burn fossil fuels without carbon dioxide generation, that's impossible. The gas just pops up somewhere else. There are a few potentials for disaster.

    1. Liquid oxygen isn't cheap compared to fresh air and you'd need to feed at least twice as much as methane (natural gas) into the burners to guarantee complete combustion. That's a big ancillary cost.

    2. Supercritical carbon dioxide is a pumpable liquid but as per the last post moving it around isn't cheap - and it's bloody dangerous too. It might not burn but any leaks leading to high local concentrations will kill anyone in the area.

    3. So the gas is pumped down an oil well. As per fracking, where will it appear again? And as above, at what sort of concentration?

    It's a tidy piece of pure engineering but I shall wait and see.....
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  12. It sounds a bit like using an Expander/Compressor unit, the free energy comes from the expansion of the supercool liquid, expanding driving the compressor and the Jules Thomson effect recovers 'coolth' from the liquid before recompressing it. We use it in the Cold Recovery systems on gas cracking plants to reduce the power required to run refrigeration compressors. Quite a novel idea to use hot CO2 though if it can be harnessed to Carbon Capture units it could be a game changer in the power industry
  13. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I suspect the trial plant has several purposes:
    • To check the economics
    • To identify any design problems
    • To identify any problems in scaling up to industrial scale.
    Sounds like the plant is due to start in a month or two's time. In which cases we should have a preliminary idea of the practicality of it within 6 months of start-up.

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  14. All depends on where things are, doesn't it, as how do you define "local" given how the stuff is transported around nowadays?