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Subsea release of CO2

Accidental release and leakage of CO2 from pipelines, wells or reservoirs within the CCS value chain is of concern to both safety and environment.

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The Flow Technology group at SINTEF Industry has developed a mathematical model to assess how the resulting bubble plume behaves in the water column and how it potentially reach the surface. The model computes quantitative data to assess the risk.

Illustration: SINTEF

SINTEF has studied subsea CO2 plumes both numerically and experimentally. The numerical models typically reports how much CO2 reaches the surface and how it is distributed at the surface. The numerical model has been supported by and calibrated against observations from experimental studies in the ocean by researchers at SINTEF Ocean. Most of the work has been carried out in the following projects:

  • CO2 plume model – A numerical model based on the Eulerian-Lagrangian principles developed to study subsea release of CH4 has been further developed to account for the material properties of CO2 and phase transition observed in most realistic release scenarios.  The project is supported by TotalEnergies, Equinor and BP.
  • SAFECO2 – Experimental data on bubble plumes and single bubbles released in the ocean from depths down to 300m has been collected to quantify plume dissolution height, mass transfer of CO2 bubbles, pH variations and more. The data has been used to validate the numerical model. The project is supported by Equinor, ExxonMobil, TotalEnergies and Saipem.