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Understand the implications of Supercritical CO2 on your polymer related business activities

  • Carbon Dioxide gas is widely found in the Oil and Gas Industry. It is well known by engineers and metallurgists alike where an aqueous solution of the gas is highly corrosive and may cause severe damage to the steel dominated infrastructure of the industry. The total cost of corrosion to the Oil and Gas production Industry was estimated in 2020 by NACE to be around $1.4 billion (ref). Carbon dioxide is commonly found integrally mixed with liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon reserves.

    Mitigations range from anti-corrosion additives in fluids to coatings for steel but polymers and polymer composites have for many years been seen as a corrosion resistant alternative. In general, polymers are largely unaffected by ‘dry’ carbon dioxide and even when wet there is little risk of corrosion at ambient temperature. This has contributed to the rapid expansion in the use of polymeric pipelines, coatings and components, where other factors such as mechanical strength allow.

    The level of CO2 content and its temperature and pressure vary significantly with geographical location. Supercritical CO2 is found in a number of oil production areas around the globe, perhaps most notably in the Brazilian Pre-Salt Region. In such geographical areas temperature and well pressure conspire to push Carbon Dioxide above its triple point of 31°C and 73.8 bar such that it becomes a supercritical fluid. In this state Carbon Dioxide has the density of a liquid but the diffusion properties of a gas.

    Large quantities of Carbon Dioxide are now used in oil production: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) typically uses steam, chemical or gas injection to extract oil from otherwise depleted or inaccessible reserves. Gas injection in particular uses vast quantities of Carbon Dioxide which could otherwise contribute to pollution and global warming. Much of the CO2 gas used for this process is transported and delivered in the supercritical phase.

  • In the case of excess Carbon Dioxide Gas which is neither used within the Oil or other industries, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is becoming an increasingly promising technology for 'disposal' of the gas and reduction of global warming influences. CCS involves injecting Carbon Dioxide into deep and secure geological formations which are able to trap the gas permanently. Once again, in CCS, as in EOR, the gas is transported and delivered in its supercritical phase.

    It is now increasingly common to find Supercritical CO2 as an environment for polymeric components. Whether in Oil and Gas production or Carbon Capture and Storage, relatively common applications of polymers (seals, coatings, pipelines, compressor parts etc....) need to perform in the more demanding environment of the supercritical phase.

    Supercritical CO2 is a powerful solvent finding applications as varied as the de-caffeination of coffee to solvent extraction in cosmetic products and the tanning of leather. These same useful properties can be a significant threat to the performance of polymers and elastomers. Typical effects of this environment can include plasticisation, lowering of Tg, and removal of additives and low molecular weight fractions.

    Existing and new suppliers of polymeric raw materials, components and structures are now faced with a bewildering array of potential interactions between gas and polymer and a Testing and Standards Industry which has not yet caught up with new test and evaluation requirements. Even those companies who have clear ideas on application conditions and required data, have no clear reference on what should be evaluated in such tests and more importantly how.

  • How do you benefit?

    • Understand where, and how Supercritical CO2 occurs naturally, in what levels and the problems it can cause to the exploration and production industries
    • Understand where and how CO2 is handled in Enhanced Oil Recovery and Carbon Capture and Storage
    • Become familiar with the properties of SCCO2 and how these differ from those of other phases
    • Become familiar with all types of interaction of SCCO2 with polymers and composites and how these are manifest in properties and performance
    • Assess the most suitable test and evaluation programmes to demonstrate suitability for applications
    • Be more familiar with appropriate polymer test methods and the important ‘gaps’ in International Standards
    • Meet an industry expert in a live webinar session and pose your specific questions on this issue of growing importance
  • What’s included?

    • A focused, concise and easy to navigate report, available as a PDF download for easy reference, and with a comprehensive bibliography.
    • On-demand presentation with industry expert Geoff Small
    • Live Q&A Session with Geoff discuss and answer your specific questions (Tuesday 7 December, 11am GMT)
    • On-demand access to the Q&A to watch again at your convenience.
    • Price €2,000

    Contact us for more information

  • About the expert

    Geoff Small, GS Materials Consultants

    Geoff has worked in the polymers and composites industry for more than 35 years. He has held a number of senior positions across R&D and Commercial roles in this time, including Head of Research and Development: Energy at Victrex.

    He has worked with a wide range of polymer materials and applications with focus on the Energy Sector and has particular interest and expertise in degradation and lifetime prediction. Most recently, Geoff set up his own consultancy business working with clients across the Oil and Gas and Renewable Energy Industry.

  • Report content

    • Background and requirements for current report
    • Supercritical CO2:
      • Properties and Characteristics
      • CO2 in hydrocarbon reserves: geographical occurrence and conditions. Where does this affect polymers and polymer composite components.
      • Overview of problems associated with SCCO2 in Oil production and typical costs of mitigation or rectification
      • Enhanced Oil Recovery: use of CO2 with polymeric components
      • Carbon Capture and Storage: use of CO2 with polymeric components
    • Overview of Deleterious Effects on metals and polymers
    • The various interactions and effects of SCCO2 with polymers and composites, including practical implications.
    • Evaluation and understanding the degree of interaction with polymers from laboratory studies and how these relate to real world applications
    • Current approaches to mitigation.
    • Current Test & Evaluation Methods and Facilities
    • Future Trends

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