Washington — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) portfolio of field projects aimed at confirming that long-term geologic carbon dioxide (CO2) storage is safe and environmentally secure has been expanded by three projects selected to collectively receive $34.5 million over four years.
Researchers will conduct small-scale injection testing of CO2 into promising geologic formations. Project data will be incorporated in the National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographical Information System (NATCARB), an interactive online tool that integrates a wealth of information on worldwide efforts to deploy carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
The total award value of the new projects is more than $45 million, with approximately $10.5 million provided by the recipients. The work will be managed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
CCS is the process of capturing greenhouse gases from large stationary sources, such as power plants, and storing them in ways that prevent their release to the atmosphere, and is a key element in national efforts to mitigate climate change. Members of the public and industry can use NATCARB to assess future opportunities for developing commercial carbon storage projects throughout the United States.
Brief descriptions of the projects follow:
- Blackhorse Energy, LL (Houston, Texas)—Blackhorse Energy plans to inject approximately 53,000 tons of CO2 into a geologic formation located in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. The project will assess the suitability of strandplain geologic formations for future large-scale geologic storage of CO2 in association with enhanced oil recovery. Additionally, they will test the efficacy of increased storage using short-radius horizontal well technology to inject supercritical CO2 and CO2 foam into the reservoir. A best practices manual for CCS activities will be developed during the project to help reduce storage risk by documenting the uncertainties related to this specific formation. (DOE share: $11,500,000; recipient share: $4,467,237; duration: 4 years)
- University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. (Lawrence, Kan.)—The University of Kansas will inject at least 70,000 metric tons of CO2 into multiple formations. The project will demonstrate the application of state-of-the-art monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) tools and techniques to monitor and visualize the injected CO2 plume and establish best practice methodologies for MVA and closure in "shelf clastic" and "shelf carbonate" geologic formations. This will help reduce storage risk by documenting the uncertainties related to these specific formations and monitoring techniques. The proposed small-scale injection will advance the science and practice of carbon storage in the Midcontinent. (DOE share: $11,484,499; recipient share: $3,235,009; duration: 4 years)
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Va.)—The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will attempt to reduce uncertainty, test the properties of coal seams, and evaluate the potential for enhanced coalbed methane recovery by injecting approximately 20,000 tons of CO2 into unmineable coalbeds. The results of the injection and monitoring will help to better understand the effect of CO2 on coal. The research will substantiate the CO2 storage potential of coal seams, with the potential to enhance existing coalbed methane recovery operations in Central Appalachia. A best practices manual for CCS activities will be developed during the project to help reduce storage risk by documenting the uncertainties related to these activities. (DOE share: $11,499,265; recipient share: $2,875,609; duration: 4 years)