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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Multiple watercooling towers with CO2 escaping

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) processes remove carbon dioxide (CO2) that would otherwise be emitted from fossil fuel power stations and other industrial processes and transport it for permanent underground storage. In Great Britain (GB), storage of CO2 will only take place offshore in saline formations or depleted oil and gas fields.

CCS is an integrated process involving three stages:

  • Capture of CO2 from power stations and other large industrial sources,
  • Transporting CO2 (usually in pipelines) to a storage site,
  • Permanent storage of CO2 in deep geological features.

About CCS

General hazards of CO2

Power Station with with CO2 cloudCO2 is not harmful to health at low concentrations. It is not flammable and will not support combustion. However, at high concentrations CO2 is a recognised workplace hazard where it can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion and loss of consciousness. Fatalities by asphyxiation have also occurred where CO2 has displaced oxygen in confined spaces.

General Hazards of CO2

Regulating CCS

Factory chimney with CO2CCS is a new process and there are currently no commercial scale projects operating in GB. Future CCS operators will be able to make sure that their CCS processes are safe for workers and members of the public by complying with existing health and safety legislation and by taking a proportionate approach to managing CCS risks.

Regulating CCS

Major hazard potential of CCS

In CCS operations it is likely that CO2 will be handled close to, or above, its critical pressure (73.82 bar) where many of its properties are similar to that of a liquid. In this state it is often referred to as ‘dense phase’, whereas above critical temperature (31.04°C) and pressure it is referred to as ‘supercritical’. Significant hazards associated with dense phase or supercritical CO2 arise when pressure falls suddenly or is lost completely.

More information

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Updated 2018-07-03