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Northern Lights and DNV collaborate to update the CO2 Quality specifications for carbon transport and storage

Northern Lights has published updated CO2 quality specifications for shipping of liquid CO2 from capture sites and pipeline transport for permanent storage. The specification reflects the latest industry insights and expertise. These revisions are crucial for maintaining the material integrity, operability, health, safety, and environmental considerations within the Northern Lights value chain.

Short version:

  • The CO2 transport and storage company Northern Lights JV DA (Northern Lights) has published an updated CO2 specification
  • The CO2 specification has been developed by a task force led by DNV, with subject matter experts from Northern lights, DNV, and Northern Lights owner companies Equinor, Shell and TotalEnergies.
  • The basis for the updated CO2 specification was announced in a webinar 21 February 2024. This article gives an overview of the key takeaways from the webinar.

As the CCS industry has gained momentum in recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the risks and uncertainties associated with impurities in the CO2 stream. This acknowledgment has led to the revisiting of the CO2 specification for Northern Lights published in 2019. The European Commission, in its Industrial Carbon Management Strategy, has also emphasized the need for CO2 standards.

In a recent webinar on 21 February 2024, Northern Lights, Equinor, Shell, TotalEnergies and DNV presented an update to the CO2 specifications for Northern Lights. The CO2 specifications define the maximum allowable levels of impurities in the CO2. The updated CO2 specifications have been developed by a task force led by DNV in collaboration with subject matter experts from DNV, Northern Lights and the owner companies Equinor, Shell and TotalEnergies.

The CO2 specifications are essential for ensuring the safety and integrity of infrastructure, adhering to regulatory compliance, and facilitating the monitoring and measurement of abated CO2 volumes, which are crucial for carbon credit certifications and financial transactions. Understanding the impurities within the CO2 is a critical component of safe CCS operations.

The revised CO2 specifications consider new insights into the cross-reactions between various components and the development of corrosive fluids. They take into account Northern Lights' existing design and infrastructure, assessing the tolerance and impact of these corrosive fluids. Additionally, the update expands the allowable impurities in CO2, enabling more customer segments to engage with the Northern Lights value chain.

Key takeaways from the webinar:

1. Enhanced focus on safety and integrity

The main driver for updating the CO2 specification was ensuring the safety and integrity of the Northern Lights infrastructure. The updated CO2 specification is rooted in state-of-the-art knowledge from published research as well as industry knowledge and experience from the Northern Lights JV owner companies and DNV. The work involved a collaboration of more than 70 experts from the different companies. Dealing with integrity, the key focus was to develop a CO2 specification that avoids formation of corrosive fluids and ensures the injectivity of the CO2.

2. Expanded CO2 specifications promote broader industry inclusion

The revision of the CO2 specifications was a collaborative and comprehensive process, involving in-depth consultations with a wide range of industry emitters. This extensive engagement underscores Northern Lights’ commitment to understanding and effectively addressing the diverse challenges and needs present across various sectors.

This approach not only highlights the importance of adaptability in meeting diverse industrial needs but also emphasizes the significance of collaboration and feedback in shaping effective carbon capture and storage (CCS) strategies. Such efforts contribute meaningfully to environmental sustainability, showcasing Northern Lights' role in driving the CCS industry forward through inclusive and responsive practices.

Based on this, additional impurities were included in the revised specification. This expansion is designed to accommodate a wider range of industrial emissions, thereby enabling more industries to potentially store CO2 with Northern Lights. Key to this update is the extended list of acceptable impurities, reflecting Northern Lights' commitment to inclusivity and broadening participation in CCS.

3. Operational adaptability with open gas return system

A notable feature of the Northern Lights project is its open gas return system. This system's functionality is central to the project's operational integrity and efficiency. The open gas return system is linked to the ship transportation. During ship transport, the CO2 is in the liquid state. Once the CO2 is off-loaded, there will be a gas phase left in the ship tanks. With open gas return, the emitters can receive components via the gas return that were not present in their own liquid CO2. This gas, if not properly managed, can contain various impurities that might affect the integrity of the storage facility. Therefore, precise control of these impurity levels is crucial to maintain the system's efficiency and safety. The revised CO2 specification ensures operational reliability for customers storing CO2 with Northern Lights.

4. Standardization and industry alignment on CO2 specifications

During the webinar, it was highlighted that the revised CO2 specification is specific to the Northern Lights infrastructure, including the operating windows and material selections. Although the work done to conclude on the revised specification has been extensive, other CCS projects may see the need to make other choices in their specifications. This could both be to cater their own infrastructure needs, but also to meet other customer segments in CCS. This is because different industries have different impurities in their flue gases.

It was highlighted that there are several standards giving guidance on CO2 specifications, for example, ISO 27913 Carbon dioxide capture, transportation and geological storage and DNV-RP-F104 Design and operation of carbon dioxide pipelines.

From DNV, the CO2 SafePipe and CO2 Safe and Sour joint industry projects are working on guidance on CO2 specifications and performing research to develop knowledge to form the basis for establishing specifications.

5. Project expansion: The next commercial horizon

The webinar shed light on the future phases of the Northern Lights project, specifically the commercial negotiations for Phase Two. This next phase is built on the design basis of Phase One and includes pre-investments in infrastructure for cost-efficient expansion.

Significantly, the updated CO2 specifications are set to apply across both existing and future phases, ensuring operational consistency and compatibility as the project evolves.

About the updated specifications

Developed by a task force led by DNV, with contributions from subject matter experts from DNV, Northern Lights JV DA, and its owner companies (Equinor, Shell, and TotalEnergies), the revised specifications are grounded in state-of-the-art knowledge from the latest research, industry knowledge, and expertise.

The CO2 specification has been updated to ensure material integrity, operability, health, safety, and environment considerations for the customers and Northern Lights JV DA value chain (temporary storage, ships, onshore and offshore facilities).

About Northern Lights JV

Northern Lights is the first ever cross-border, open-source CO2 transport and storage infrastructure network, offering companies across Europe the opportunity to store their CO2 safely and permanently deep under the seabed in Norway. Northern Lights is a partnership between Equinor, Shell and TotalEnergies, and is a key component of Longship, the Norwegian Government’s full-scale carbon capture and storage project. Phase 1 of Northern Lights includes capacity to transport, inject and store up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year. In 2023 Ørsted and Yara entered into commercial cross-border transport and storage agreement with Northern Lights to store 0.43 and 0.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Schematic illustration of the Northern lights and Longship scope. Credit: Northern Lights
Schematic illustration of the Northern lights and Longship scope. Credit: Northern Lights



3/25/2024 7:00:00 AM

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