In 2006, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (formerly the DTi and now within the Department of Energy and Climate Change) asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to determine if there were any health and safety concerns relating to the deployment of large scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in the UK.

The HSE carried out a significant review of all aspects of the carbon capture and storage chain from the various capture technologies through to the injection points on the offshore platforms. Part of this process involved approaching the Energy Institute (EI) and jointly organising a number of workshops to identify the key areas for development. The workshops identified a number of areas which it believed merited greater attention.

These concerns can be split into two broad subject areas:

  1. Modelling the dispersion of any leak of carbon dioxide appropriately, and
  2. Ensuring good practice from industrial gases sectors is fed into the UK CCS industry and is adequate and appropriate for this new industry.

Modelling the dispersion of carbon dioxide

The HSE was concerned that the commercial models available to model the dispersion of gases were not validated for carbon dioxide which has particular thermodynamic properties. As a result, any dispersion modelling using these commercial models may not be accurate and without any validation of the models, it would be impossible to use them with any confidence. In identifying this as a need for development, the HSE and EI set about establishing a joint industry group to develop guidelines on ‘Hazard analysis for onshore carbon capture installations and onshore pipelines’.

Ensuring good practices are used in the CCS industry

Carbon dioxide has particular properties which affect the choice of materials and plant design. Although many of these issues are well understood by the industrial gases sector, they are not ‘business as usual’ for the CCS industry. For example, elastomers are commonly used in seals in the power generation and oil and gas industry, but cannot be used for carbon dioxide as they explode when rapidly depressurised.

In response to the concerns raised by the HSE, the Energy Institute (EI) formed an industry group to work with the HSE to resolve the issues raised. The work forms two discrete documents: (Document 1) Technical guidance on hazard analysis for onshore carbon capture installations and onshore pipelines; and (Document 2) Good plant design and operation for onshore carbon capture installations and onshore pipelines.

This document is intended for guidance only and is intended to improve the industry’s knowledge, to assist developers and operators to carry out hazard analysis, and procure and manage their plant safely. While every reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and relevance of its contents, the EI, its sponsoring companies, section writers and the working group members listed in the Acknowledgements who have contributed to its preparation, cannot accept any responsibility for any action taken, or not taken, on the basis of this information. The Energy Institute shall not be liable to any person for any loss or damage which may arise from the use of any of the information contained in any of its publications.

This publication will be reviewed in the future and it would be of considerable assistance for any subsequent revision if users would send comments or suggestions for improvements to:

The Technical Department

Energy Institute

61 New Cavendish Street,