Air Products celebrated the successful operation of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) demonstration project that will capture about one million tons of carbon dioxide in an enhanced oil recovery project in which DOE anticipates an additional estimated 1.6-3.1 million barrels of oil to be produced annually from the carbon dioxide injection.
Described by the DOE as a milestone in its industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS) program, Air Products’ carbon capture project in Port Arthur, Texas recovers and purifies the carbon dioxide, all of which is then transported in its gaseous state by Air Products via a pipeline owned by Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas for injection into the Denbury Onshore operated West Hastings Unit, an enhanced oil recovery project in Texas.
Air Products designed, constructed, and is now operating the system to capture carbon dioxide from its steam methane reformers (SMR) located within the Valero Port Arthur Refinery.
The carbon dioxide removal technology was retrofitted to the SMRs, which produce hydrogen to assist in the making of cleaner burning transportation fuels by refinery customers on Air Products’ Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline network. Hydrogen is widely used in petroleum refining processes to remove impurities found in crude oil such as sulfur, olefins and aromatics to meet product fuels specifications.
Incidentally, Air Products’ Gulf Coast hydrogen plant and pipeline supply network is the world’s largest system of its kind. The pipeline stretches from the Houston Ship Channel in Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana. The 600-mile pipeline span is fed by over 20 Air Products’ hydrogen production facilities and provides over 1.2 billion cubic feet of hydrogen per day to refinery and petrochemical customers.
DOE had previously stated that, “This event marks a milestone in DOE’s ICCS program: progressing beyond research and development to a demonstration scale that can be readily replicated and deployed into commercial practice within the industry. Goals of the ICCS program are to mitigate climate change through carbon capture, utilization and storage; create jobs; and position the United States as a world leader in carbon-capture technologies.”
DOE provided a portion of the funding (66 percent) for the over $400 million project. In June 2010, Air Products was selected to receive $253 million in funding from DOE through the National Energy Technology Laboratory under the ICCS Program, which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for this project.
It later received an additional $30 million from DOE through the ARRA for final engineering, design, construction, and project operation through September 2015. Air Products’ project was the only industrial gas company led undertaking selected by DOE, and one of only three projects receiving additional funding towards a commercial demonstration project.