Capturing a lead on climate change
Carbon is central to the world’s energy needs, but is also a key contributor to climate change.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology promises to be part of the solution to this global problem, by preventing greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
CCS captures carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of coal and gas for power generation, and from the manufacturing of steel, cement and other industrial facilities. The CO2 is then transported by either pipeline or ship, for safe and permanent storage – underground.
My research is modelling the effectiveness of CCS technology, allowing it to be tested in the laboratory without the time, expense and resource needed to carry out field experiments on a huge scale.
"Our work aligns closely with the government’s aims of enabling the UK to become a global technology leader in carbon capture and storage."
I am working to understand how CO2 behaves in its liquid and gas phases, particularly when other molecules are present. For example, where phase changes occur, how hard is the fluid to compress and how does it flow? This is important for the safe operation of carbon dioxide pipes, which are crucial for CCS.
By developing techniques to predict fluid properties purely from theory, we can predict how effective CCS will be without any need for experiments. The understanding of CO2 that we are developing will help reduce the costs and hazards associated with capturing, transporting and storing CO2 in the future.
Our work aligns closely with the government’s aims of enabling the UK to become a global technology leader in CCS and ensuring the UK has the option of deploying CCS at scale during the 2030s.
Richard Graham is a Professor of Applied Mathematics, School of Mathematical Sciences. Follow him on Twitter for more about his research