Capturing carbon dioxide (CO2 ) and transporting the near pure CO2 from Latrobe Valley, 100km west of storage site, to a compressor station for liquefying in preparation for injection offshore Golden Beach in the Gippsland Basin will present the biggest challenge on land for CarbonNet’s Carbon Capture and Storage project.

#Transport of supercritical CO2 via pipeline is much more dangerous and challenging compared to transporting of oil and gas that Victorians are so familiar with. That is, transport of CO2 is a risk to our health and safety.

  • In the event of pipeline failure, for example a full bore rupture… a significant proportion of the compressed CO2 would be discharged in the first few minutes. The rapidly expanding gas is heavier than air where it can displace enough oxygen at ground level that at a concentration of 10%, an exposed individual would lapse into unconsciousness in 1 min from asphyxiation. If concentration is 20% or more, the gas is instantaneously fatal causing suffocation.
  • The ability of CO2 to collect in depressions in the land, in basements and in other low-lying areas such as valleys near the pipeline route, presents a significant hazard if leaks continue undetected.
  • …CO2 can remain undetected for a very long time. Also, CO2 will be mixed with potentially toxic substances whose natural dispersion might be impeded by the dense CO2 vapour layer close to the ground, further increasing hazards. In 1986 a cloud of naturally-occurring CO2 spontaneously released from Lake Nyos in Cameroon killed 1,800 people in nearby villages. Source YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irTJznisVQY

Several other hazards associated with the accidental release of CO2 are –

A transportation infrastructure that carries CO2 in large enough quantities to make a significant contribution to climate change mitigation will require a large network of pipelines spanning over hundreds of kilometres. Most economical means of transporting CO2 is in the supercritical state due to its low viscosity and high density, a typical 100 km, 0.8 m diameter CO2 pipeline under such conditions would contain approximately 9000 tonnes of infrastructure. The construction of the pipeline and the chosen route also needs careful consideration as any forces exerted on the pipeline by natural occurrences like earthquakes or settlement can, in some cases, lead to failure of the pipeline. Add the unpredictability of impurities from the captured emissions entering the pipeline and the risks greatly increase.

A 2014 research paper (14 pages) by University of Wollongong Research Online is relevant CO2 pipeline infrastructure – lessons learnt

Source – CCS Opportunities in Victoria, China Australia Geological Storage of CO2 (CAGS)

Reality check:
Who would the multi users be? HRL Dual Gas Ltd didn’t get a start, Yallourn power station will be shutting down in 15 years, Hazelwood power station has already shut down which only leaves LoyYang A So for all the cost and research, a pipeline will be built for one major CO2 emitter in Latrobe Valley. Even now, in 2018, CCS pipeline problems are nowhere near solving.

A Chevron report to the State Government released yesterday said start-up checks this year found leaking valves, valves that could corrode and excess water in the pipeline from the LNG plant to the injection wells that could cause the pipeline to corrode. Chevron has CCS pipeline hiccups.

The transport of near pure CO2 will be a regulatory nightmare for a multi-user pipeline. How do you determine which process and which user created the impurities that compromised the integrity of the pipe in transporting CO2.

Effects of CO2 Impurities on Economics
The presence of impurities in the CO2 stream shifts the boundary … The overall economics of CCS are significantly affected by the economics of capture and transport. … CO2 capture will likely result in the co-capture of other chemical compounds in the process gas from the range of industrial facilities. Reducing the concentration of trace elements and obtaining a high purity CCS stream is often technically feasible, but purification steps most likely lead to additional costs and increased energy requirements. On the other hand, if the CO2 stream is not scrubbed to remove impurities, costs may increase downstream in terms of transport cost, injection costs, maintenance and monitoring. Minimisation of capture, transport, and injection costs will therefore become an optimisation problem based on the CO2 gas composition.  https://www.globalccsinstitute.com/publications/national-carbon-mapping-and-infrastructure-plan-australia-full-report

Any pipeline infrastructure is dependent on strict regulatory controls, superior quality of materials and the all-important expert workmanship of welds so we shouldn’t hear examples of where these important elements have failed to occur but we do – TransCanada’s New ‘Best-In-Class’ Gas Pipeline Explodes in West Virginia, Causing Fiery Blast and Following Spills and Sinkholes, Mariner East Pipeline Opponents Call on PA Governor Wolf to Stop Construction

Our own local ESSO/EXXON construction of their Gas Conditioning plant utilised cheaper materials from two different overseas companies and, not surprisingly, the components were not compatible leading to significant emissions of air toxics. If history serves us well in Gippsland, the $$$ will definitely be the decider on where the shortcuts are taken.

Information sourced from –