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ETI Announces Details of New Project to Study Brine in Undersea Carbon Dioxide Stores

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The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched a new project, which will study the impact of removing brine from undersea stores that could, in future, be used to store captured carbon dioxide.

The £200,000 nine-month long “Impact of Brine Production on Aquifer Storage” project will be carried out by Heriot-Watt University, a founder member of the Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) research partnership, and Element Energy. T2 Petroleum Technology and Durham University will also participate in the project.

Although the Government recently announced it was not continuing with its £1bn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) its view is that CCS can still play a potential role in the long-term decarbonisation of the UK energy system.

This latest ETI project will build on earlier CCS research work and help develop understanding of the potential CO2 stores, such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs or saline aquifers, located beneath UK waters. It will also help to build confidence among future operators and investors for their operation.

An earlier ETI CCS project led to the development of the UK’s principal storage screening database, CO2Stored, which estimates the capacity and injectivity for each of an identified 550 stores off the UK’s coast. As part of the analysis one of the assumptions was that brine was not produced from the reservoir store before, during or after CO2 injection.

However, if pressure builds within a store as a result of CO

© 2016 Energy Technologies Institute LLP. The information in this document is the property of Energy Technologies Institute LLP and may not be copied or communicated to a third party or used for any purpose other than that for which it is supplied without the express written consent of Energy Technologies Institute LLP.

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2 injection then brine can potentially be removed from the store through a purpose-built well or wells to depressurise it whilst still retaining the store’s operation and integrity.

Brine management is a recognised way within the oil and gas industry of controlling reservoir pressure and fluid flow. Brine production is a feature of every oil and gas development. The removed brine could be sent to another aquifer or displaced to the sea.

Recent work published by Heriot-Watt University has showed that producing brine on the UK Continental Shelf may be beneficial to CO2 injection rates and storage. Using this experience of brine production means researchers from the university are well placed to deliver on the objectives of this project.

Paul Winstanley, ETI CCS Project Manager said:

“Although the UK Government is no longer pursuing its CCS demonstration competition, ETI’s view remains that CCS offers long term the lowest cost solution to meeting the UK’s legally binding 2050 climate change targets.

“One of our roles at the ETI is to help build knowledge and understanding around the challenges and benefits of CCS to ensure there is a robust evidence base in place allowing decisions to be made.

“Without early demonstration of CCS the country is placing much greater reliance on its ability to rapidly deploy the other tools it has such as renewables, new nuclear, bioenergy, low carbon heating and efficiency measures, which could double the cost of meeting UK energy and climate change targets with substantial increases in system costs appearing from 2020 onwards. The work of this project should continue to demonstrate the role CCS should play in a long-term transition to a low carbon energy system.”

The project will produce a cost-benefit analysis of brine production, using the CO2Stored database and numerical models developed in the ETI’s previous UK Storage Appraisal Project as a starting point. The analysis undertaken will cover both saline aquifers and oil and gas reservoirs.

The first stage of the project will examine any changes in injectivity and storage capacity as a result of producing brine, the additional cost of using brine wells as part of storage site operations and the potential for any savings. If the first stage shows there are potential benefits, these will then be refined and the operational implications examined further.

Professor Eric Mackay from Heriot-Watt University added:

“More brine than oil has been produced from North Sea oil reservoirs. This brine is cleaned to conform to environmental regulations and then either displaced to sea or reinjected into subsurface rock formations. Seawater is also injected into oil reservoirs to maintain the pressure while the oil is being produced and also maximise oil recovery. This project will investigate the potential to do the reverse – produce brine to prevent the pressure increasing during CO2 injection. This will reduce the risk of leakage, increase the amount of CO2 that individual wells can inject and increase the storage capacity of the whole system – potentially by a factor of three to four times.

“As a result, fewer wells overall will be required, and fewer sites may be required to store the same amount of CO2 – with clear benefits in terms of reduced cost of appraisal, drilling, operation and monitoring. Provided existing regulations on water quality are adhered to, the environmental footprint of CO2 injection will also be reduced.

Emrah Durusut, Element Energy’s CCS expert, added:

© 2016 Energy Technologies Institute LLP. The information in this document is the property of Energy Technologies Institute LLP and may not be copied or communicated to a third party or used for any purpose other than that for which it is supplied without the express written consent of Energy Technologies Institute LLP.

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“Our recent analysis for the ETI shows that early investment in CO2 storage development is needed to unlock future unit cost reductions and strategic build-out options for CCS given long lead times for developing storage sites. Brine production has the potential to reduce the level of investment required.”

The project partners consider that, just as brine injection made the oil industry much more effective at maximising recovery, brine production will considerably improve the efficiency and security of storage for the CCS industry, and significantly reduce the cost. The project will be the most detailed investigation of the potential benefits of brine production for CCS in the UK conducted to date.

Environment

5 Eco-friendly Appliance Maintenance Tips

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Eco-friendly Appliance
Shutterstock Photos - By Punyhong | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/punyhong

Modern day society is becoming ever more conscious about the effects of human consumption on the environment & the planet.

As a collective, more people are considering taking action to positively counteract their environmental footprint. This is accomplished by cutting down on water consumption, recycling and switching from plastic to more sustainable materials. Although most people forget about the additional things that can be done at home to improve your individual eco footprint.

Appliances, for example, can be overlooked when it comes to helping the environment, despite the fact they are items which are found in every household, and if they are not maintained effectively they can be detrimental to the environment. The longer an appliance is used, the less of an impact it has on the environment, so it is essential for you to keep them well maintained.

If you’re considering becoming more eco-conscious, here are 5 handy appliance maintenance tips to help you.

Don’t Forget to Disconnect From Power First

General maintenance of all your appliances start with disconnecting them from power; microwaves, washing machines and ovens all use residual energy when plugged in, so it’s essential to unplug them.

Disconnecting the plugs can help keep them in their best condition, as it ensures no electrical current is running through them whilst they are supposed to be out of use. Additionally, this can help you save on energy bills. By doing this you are minimising your energy footprint.

Here we break down 4 tips to keep the most popular household appliances maintained.

Eco-Friendly Oven Maintenance

Ovens generally require very little maintenance, although it is essential to stay on top of cleaning.

A simple task to make sure you don’t have any issues in the future is to check the oven door has a tight seal. To do this ensure the oven is cold, open the oven door and use your hands to locate the rubber seal. You can now feel for any tears or breaks. If any have occurred simply replace the seal. More oven tips can be read here.

Eco-Friendly Refrigerator Maintenance

When keeping a fridge in good condition, don’t forget about exterior maintenance. Refrigerator coils, although an external fixture, can cause damage when overlooked.

Refrigerator coils can be found either at the front or rear of a fridge (check you user manual if you are unsure of its location). These tend to accumulate various sources of dust and dirt over a substantial time-period, which clog refrigerator coils, causing the refrigerator to have to work twice as hard to stay cool. An easy tip to solve this is to periodically use a vacuum to get rid of any loose dirt.

Eco-Friendly Washing Machine Maintenance

Most people tend to remember the basics tasks for maintaining a washing machine, such as not to overload the machine, not to slam the door and to ensure the washing machine is on a solid and level platform.

In addition, it is necessary to routinely do a maintenance wash for your washing machine. This means running an empty wash on the highest temperature setting and letting it complete a full wash to erase any build up and residue. You should repeat this task at least once a month.

Try to schedule this task around your bulk wash load times to save on water consumption.

This will help keep your washing machine in peak working condition.

Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Maintenance Tips

Dishwasher maintenance can be simple if implemented after every wash cycle.

To keep your best dishwasher hygiene standards, scrape away excess food whilst making sure to keep the filter at the bottom of the cavity empty between cycles. This simple task can be highly effective at preventing food build up from occurring in your dishwasher.

If you need additional tips or tasks you, can reference your manufacturer’s guidebook to check for a full breakdown. You can also head to Service Force’s extensive database of repair and maintenance manuals – including extensive troubleshooting guides for all of the critical appliance maintenance procedures.

In conclusion, you can save both money and energy by keeping your appliances in peak condition. The steps outlined in this guide will help us all preserve the environment and reduce industrial waste from discarded appliances.

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Environment

Two Ancient Japanese Philosophies Are the Future of Eco-Living

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Eco-Living
Shutterstock Photos - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Our obsession with all things new has blighted the planet. We have a waste crisis, particularly when it comes to plastic. US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made – 8.3 billion tons! Unfortunately, only 9% of this is estimated to have been recycled. And current global trends point to there being 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.

However, two ancient Japanese philosophies are providing an antidote to the excesses of modern life. By emphasizing the elimination of waste and the acceptance of the old and imperfect, the concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi have positively influenced Japanese life for centuries.

They are now making their way into the consciousness of the Western mainstream, with an increasing influence in the UK and US. By encouraging us to be frugal with our possessions, (i.e. using natural materials for interior design) these concepts can be the future of eco-living.

What is Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai??

Wabi-Sabi emphasizes an acceptance of transience and imperfection. Although Wabi had the original meaning of sad and lonely, it has come to describe those that are simple, unmaterialistic and at one with nature. The term Sabi is defined as the “the bloom of time”, and has evolved into a new meaning: taking pleasure and seeing beauty in things that are old and faded. 

Any flaws in objects, like cracks or marks, are cherished because they illustrate the passage of time. Wear and tear is seen as a representation of their loving use. This makes it intrinsically linked to Wabi, due to its emphasis on simplicity and rejection of materialism.

In the West, Wabi-Sabi has infiltrated many elements of daily life, from cuisine to interior design. Specialist Japanese homeware companies, like Sansho, source handmade products that embody the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. Their products, largely made from natural materials, are handcrafted by traditional Japanese artisans – meaning no two pieces are the same and no two pieces are “perfect” in size or shape.

Mottainai

Mottainai is a term expressing a feeling of regret concerning waste, translating roughly in English to either “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste!”. The philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and is linked to hinto animism, the notion that all objects have a spirit, or ‘kami’. The idea that we are part of nature is a key part of Japanese psychology.

Mottainai also has origins in Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasizes a life of frugality, to allow us to concentrate on attaining enlightenment. It is from this move towards frugality that a link to Mottainai as a concept of waste can be made.

How have Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai promoted eco living?

Wabi-Sabi is still a prominent feature of Japanese life today, and has remained instrumental in the way people design their homes. The ideas of imperfection and frugality are hugely influential.

For example, instead of buying a brand-new kitchen table, many Japanese people instead retain a table that has been passed through the generations. Although its long use can be seen by various marks and scratches, Wabi-Sabi has taught people that they should value it because of its imperfect nature. Those scratches and marks are a story and signify the passage of time. This is a far cry from what we typically associate with the Western World.

Like Wabi Sabi, Mottainai is manifested throughout Japanese life, creating a great respect for Japanese resources. This has had a major impact on home design. For example, the Japanese prefer natural materials in their homes, such as using soil and dried grass as thermal insulation.

Their influence in the UK

The UK appears to be increasingly influenced by thes two concepts. Some new reports indicate that Wabi Sabi has been labelled as ‘the trend of 2018’. For example, Japanese ofuro baths inspired the project that won the New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve award. Ofuro baths are smaller than typical baths, use less water, and are usually made out of natural materials, like hinoki wood.

Many other UK properties have also been influenced by these philosophies, such as natural Kebony wood being applied to the external cladding of a Victorian property in Hampstead; or a house in Lancaster Gate using rice paper partitions as sub-dividers. These examples embody the spirit of both philosophies. They are representative of Mottainai because of their use of natural resources to discourage waste. And they’re reflective of Wabi-Sabi because they accept imperfect materials that have not been engineered or modified.

In a world that is plagued by mass over-consumption and an incessant need for novelty, the ancient concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi provide a blueprint for living a more sustainable life. They help us to reduce consumption and put less of a strain on the planet. This refreshing mindset can help us transform the way we go about our day to day lives.

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