by Tina Olivero

SUSTAINABLE SUPERSTARS: Research projects underway to reduce NL offshore emissions

Sixteen research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects are receiving a total of $24.4 million to investigate how to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas operations.

Projects are studying carbon capture, energy efficiencies, transportation and renewable energy. The projects cover the operational areas of; offshore drilling, production and transportation and are examining the use of technology to optimize energy efficiencies in power generation, flaring, piping integrity and renewable energy.

These emission reduction solutions will support; offshore operations, carbon capture and storage, and emissions monitoring.

Natural Resources Canada is funding the projects through the offshore RD&D component of its Emissions Reduction Fund. The fund is administered and monitored by the Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador (PRNL), who are the leading facilitators of research, technology development and innovation for Canada’s offshore.

Half of the projects involve developing new technology or determining how to adapt existing equipment or technology to reduce emissions from offshore facilities. Other projects will develop feasibility assessments, proofs of concept, and studies to fill knowledge gaps for Newfoundland and Labrador in emissions reduction.

Atlantic Towing Limited (NL, NB)

Project Title: Novel Battery Hybrid Retrofit of a Multi-Purpose Platform Supply Vessel through the Integration of Spinning Reserve and All-Electric Transit Capabilities on a SMART Ship AI Platform
Funding Amount: $4,943,761

This demonstration project is a first-in-kind integration of multiple battery technologies and will integrate spinning reserve and all-electric transit on a multi-functional offshore supply vessel to reduce GHG emissions in the offshore NL oil and gas sector.
Battery technology has emerged as a successful method to enable carbon-free, all-electric, operation of smaller ferries in various countries, including Canada, where transits are short and power demand is low. Battery technology using a battery-hybrid drive train has also been used on offshore supply vessels in the North Sea under different operating power demands and operating environments than in offshore NL.
This novel project aims to combine these technologies together under a single power management system, while also enabling future clean energy technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells, to easily integrate into the system in the future. https://www.atlantictowing.com

Cnergreen Corp. (AB)

Project Title: Reducing GHG Emissions Offshore Using Novel Nanoparticle-based Foam Technology
Funding Amount: $917,600

Cnergreen will develop its patent-pending, nanoparticle-stabilized foam technology “CnerFoam” to reduce GHG emissions and provide CO2 storage opportunities for the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore industry.
CnerFoam increases the reservoir’s ability to store more gas, reducing gas processing and energy requirements, thereby reducing GHG emissions.
Memorial University of Newfoundland will perform a series of laboratory experiments and reservoir simulations to formulate and investigate CnerFoam’s performance in offshore conditions to improve gas storage in the reservoir. The project also includes building an injection skid to proceed with a field trial. www.cnergreen.ca

Design by Analysis Engineering Inc. (NL)

Project Title: LUMENATE Wellbore Operations Monitoring System
Funding Amount: $1,903,370

This project involves developing and demonstrating a novel downhole pressure monitoring system that provides measurements during the various phases of offshore drilling. Offshore oil and gas drilling operators will have the real-time information about downhole conditions needed to optimize wellbore operations, remove uncertainty, and reduce the time required to construct and work over wells. This reduces the time required to drill a well and therefore the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity associated with each well.

DuXion Motors Inc. (NL)

Project Title: Express Hybrid Electric Retrofit Solution for Offshore Vessels
Funding Amount: $1,992,300

A factor preventing the offshore marine industry from making significant strides towards a large-scale shift to renewable energy is the large number of diesel vessels currently operating that cannot be easily retrofitted with a hybrid-electric system without incurring significant cost through downtime
DuXion will develop the world’s first 400kW hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system that can be retrofitted to inservice offshore vessels without the need for costly dry docking or significant drive shaft modification, offering Canadian and global vessels a greener propulsion system with significant emissions reductions.
This project will cover an in-depth investigation of design challenges at scale, manufacturing optimization, prototyping and testing, and will deliver a physical prototype that can be used in a demonstrator. https://www.duxion.com

ExxonMobil Canada Properties (NL, ON)

Project Title: Flare Reduction Technology Feasibility Study
Funding Amount: $2,000,000

This study will assess the flare gas stream chemistry and feasibility of installing equipment on the Hibernia platform to support proprietary technology, currently being demonstrated onshore, to reduce flaring. Experimental lab research will be conducted to determine if the proprietary reactor technology configuration can validate a reduction in Hibernia’s flare gas emissions. The study will also consider the spacing limitations associated with the existing offshore facility, equipment design and sizing to ensure viability and applicability of the technology for the installation. Researching innovative options for equipment sizing on Hibernia could lead to the development of technology, that if deemed successful, could lead to a reduction in GHG emissions as less gas is flared. https://corporate.exxonmobil.com/Locations/Canada/ExxonMobil-in-Canada

Growler Energy (NL)

Project Title: Investigation of Offshore Electrification
Funding Amount: $1,532,376

This project assessment will help close the knowledge gap to the barriers that currently exist in electrifying the offshore industry with renewable energy, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from offshore operations.
The project will take a strategic risk-based approach and provide a framework to understand the risks and opportunities associated with using renewable energy sources for offshore power generation. The project will look at how to integrate the renewable energy and offshore oil and gas industries and will deliver a Newfoundland and Labrador-specific Offshore Renewable Energy Electrification roadmap.

Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (NL)

Project Title: Hibernia Digital Twin – Power Generation System Digital Prototype
Funding Amount: $1,881,376

The purpose of this project is to build a prototype digital twin of Hibernia’s power generation system to be able to simulate and optimize energy usage on the platform. The ability to simulate various power saving scenarios on the Hibernia platform will enable better line of sight into GHG emission reduction opportunities. Power systems account for a significant amount of an offshore facility’s GHG emissions.
The digital twin will provide the ability to simulate adjustments to electrical loads and optimize power usage to reduce GHG emissions. In addition, a digital twin of the generators themselves will also help optimize the combustion process of the generators in the field. https://www.hibernia.ca

Proponent: Husky Energy, a part of the Cenovus group of companies (NL)

Project Title: Flare Gas Optimization
Amount of ERF funding: $440,713

The SeaRose FPSO (floating, production, storage and offloading vessel) includes open flare and cargo blanketing equipment as part of its primary safety systems. The proposed study will examine the feasibility of employing new processes and technologies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the FPSO that would modernize the existing design capabilities.
The study will examine modification options to reduce venting and flaring from the facility from several sources, including flash gas compression, cargo tank blanketing gas and background flaring. This study will determine the technical and commercial feasibility of these options to recommend a path forward on GHG reduction. www.Cenovus.com

Proponent: Husky Energy, a part of the Cenovus group of companies (NL)

Project Title: Main Power Generation Optimization
Amount of ERF funding: $470,954

The power generation system for the SeaRose FPSO (floating, production storage and offloading vessel) comprises three dual fuel turbine driven generators, which provide power to the process and utility equipment. The SeaRose currently runs three of the main power generators with a partial load. This study will identify the necessary modifications to increase the energy efficiency of the SeaRose power generation system with a target of reliably operating with two main power generators.
This could result in a significant reduction in associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by removing the requirement to run the third main power generator. The study will determine the technical and commercial feasibility of the options and provide a recommendation on the path forward to achieve a GHG reduction.

Intecsea, a division of Worley (NL)

Project Title: Evaluation of Floating Wind Technology
Funding Amount: $1,346,103

Electrification of offshore oil and gas production facilities eliminates or reduces the requirement for local power generation via turbine generators under normal operation.
This project examines the suitability of potential offshore floating wind concepts in the NL offshore, using wind energy to supply power to offshore facilities, reducing the need for fuel powered turbine generators, and thereby decreasing GHG emissions from power generation.
The study looks at the full-field approach, from suitability of design to construction to operations and maintenance of offshore wind technology. https://www.worley.com

M.A. Procense Inc. (NL)

Project Title: Developing Compact Capture Technology for Removal of CO2
Funding Amount: $1,380,393

This project will build a prototype of an advanced and compact system to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the exhaust gas of power generation systems including gas turbines and steam generation systems. The proposed system addresses the weight and space restriction challenges of offshore installations.
The protype will use an integrated system to separate solid carbon dioxide from the exhaust of power generation systems. The separated CO2 by the proposed system can be further pressurized and made ready for storage.

Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty of Science, Dr. Michael Katz (NL)

Project Title: Separation First Technology – Development and Demonstration of Porous Materials for the Reduction of CO2 in Offshore Oil Production
Funding Amount: $655,900

This proof-of-concept project aims to explore the use of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to sequester carbon dioxide from offshore oil and gas exhaust streams that can be subsequently stored or converted to other products.
MOFs are a porous material that can be designed at the atomic level for different applications and can be tuned by changing the size, shape and surface chemistry to make CO2 separation more efficient. Having developed and pilot tested a potential MOF porous material, this project will focus on developing a small-scale filtration system to separate carbon dioxide from a simulated exhaust stream, which will be capable of being scaled up to real-world offshore applications.

Natural Resources Canada, PRNL, Atlantic Towing

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