3 logistical challenges with landbased CO2 transport
December 1, 2021
There are no single solution
Most of the storage sites is offshore, thus requiring at least some land-based transport of CO2 (to the harbour). Within the CCS-business, this phenomenon is called “the last mile”. This can be done by laying pipelines, a possibility already widely demonstrated today by LNG and oil pipelines. It can also be done with train transport, as well as by trucks. Some CO2 pipeline networks already exist, particularly in the US where it is being used for EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery). Many commentators 1 believe therefore that pipelines are where the future lies, but the thing to understand here is that pipelines require significant capital investments. Trains and trucks are deemed to have to low capacity to be feasible for larger quantities.
But that has not been the experience of Captimise so far. Trucks are already being used in Oslo, Norway, with electric propulsions system. With the new self driving AI system that for instance Scania, as well as Volvo, are investing heavily in at the moment, times for that business are about to change. It has already changed for certain goods, notably in the US. CCS-transport will also, by necessity, be structured and monotonous which makes it more of a clear cut case than most as to why autonomous trucks and CO2 transport could be a good match. Time will tell.
But the real movement within the CCS-business are with train transport as far as logistics are concerned. Most likely what awaits are hybrid transportation solutions.
Trains – development is rapid
There is a lot of work going on here, and it is particularly interesting since trains have very low operational costs. But CO2 train carriages are not fully developed, and for out transportation from any emitter, or hub, a specific side track has to be built.
Pipelines carries with them their own problems
Pipeline is of course well established as a technology and will be even more important in the future. It has the big advantage of being non-intrusive once built. However, in those cases where it must be transported across heavily congested areas – such as mountains, rivers, or offshore - the capital costs are going to go up and the significant capital costs associated with this set of solutions have already been mentioned. There are specific design factors to think about when going through populated areas, and one needs to pay close attention to the moisture content in liquid CO2, as that is corrosive.
There will be interesting times ahead!
1IPCC, the Global CCS Institute