Carbon Injection

In a world where our understanding of the impacts of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) on our climate are expanding but our demand for energy is higher than ever, it is vital that energy production becomes more efficient and environmentally friendly. One method of doing this is through Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS).
One method of CCUS is CO2 injection. Increasing oil recovery and storing CO2 (, accessed 19/05/2020)
Conventionally, a well is drilled into a reservoir and the oil and gas is pumped to the surface. This usually results in around 25% recovery of the reservoirs reserves. However, by using an Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) method, this can increase recovery to around 40% or more. One method which is favoured environmentally is gas injection. Carbon dioxide is pumped into the reservoir and this pushes some of the trapped oil out and up to the production wellbore, as well as lowering the viscosity of the oil so it can flow through pore spaces more easily to the wellbore. This not only leads to more oil being recovered, but also is a method of storing carbon dioxide underground, so it is not released into the atmosphere.

Pumping carbon dioxide into wells does have its technical challenges. One of which is the acidity of the CO2. This makes corrosion of equipment more likely so special consideration and engineering needs to take place in designing the system..This role is primarily dealt with by a Corrosion Engineer. A Corrosion Engineer studies the properties of different materials and decides how best to minimise corrosion.

Corrosion of an oil and gas pipeline (\, accessed 19/05/2020)

  • For more information about the role of a Corrosion Engineer, this Wikipedia Page gives a lot of detail.
  • To conduct your own investigation to determine how different materials are effected by an acidic solution try the Investigating the Effect of Acids on Materials experiment from the CCUS WASP STEM Year 10 package.  
  • A video showing how to conduct the investigation at home is available here.