The company had originally intended to complete testing and analyse the results before the end of this year.
Despite the delays, Cool Energy managing director Jessie Inman said the results received so far had been very positive and preparation for trials with higher carbon dioxide levels were progressing well.
“Despite the mechanical delays and many challenges we’ve faced, we have learned a tremendous amount and made some great progress to date,” Inman said.
“Trials thus far have confirmed Cool Energy’s expectations regarding many aspects of the process performance.”
She said work to date had also confirmed that the plant could be suitable for a commercial setting.
“In routine operations, after shutdown, the whole system can be restarted and meet target temperatures in just two to three hours,” she said.
Cool Energy’s team, to which a full-time researcher has just been added, is now working to prepare the plant for higher CO2 testing.
The modified plant is due for completion soon and is expected to be able to test CO2 levels of 30-40% and possibly higher.
“We’re continuing a number of discussions with potential commercial partners with high CO2 levels in their natural gas fields and hope to have the first commercial project identified and confirmed within the next few months,” Inman said.
The CryoCell system removes CO2 from natural gas streams as a liquid that can be readily used for geosequestration or miscible flood-enhanced oil recovery.
The technology has the potential to unlock previously uneconomic gas reserves due to a high CO2 content and help meet rising energy demand, and once it had been proved onshore, it could be used to exploit previously uncommercial giant offshore gas fields, according to Inman.
Both technologies were developed at Curtin University of Technology. The Australian Government is providing financial assistance for the CryoCell through an AusIndustry Innovation Grant.