CCS and Power Systems

Carbon Storage - Monitoring, Verification, Accounting, and Assessment


Combining Space Geodesy, Seismology, and Geochemistry for Monitoring, Verification and Accounting of CO2 in Sequestration Sites


Performer: University of Miami

Project No: FE0001580


Program Background and Project Benefits

The goal of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carbon Storage Program is to develop and advance technologies to significantly improve the effectiveness of geologic carbon storage, reduce implementation costs, and prepare for widespread commercial deployment between 2025 and 2035. Research to develop these technologies will ensure safe and permanent storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without adversely affecting energy use or hindering economic growth.

Geologic carbon storage involves securely and permanently injecting CO2 into underground formations. Technologies being developed for geologic carbon storage are focused on five storage types—oil and natural gas reservoirs, saline formations, unmineable coal seams, basalts, and organic-rich shales—to meet carbon storage programmatic goals of (1) estimating CO2 storage capacity to +/-30 percent in geologic formations, (2) ensuring 99 percent storage permanence, (3) improving efficiency of storage operations, and (4) developing best practices manuals. These technologies will facilitate future CO2 management for coal-based electric power generating facilities and other industrial CO2 emitters by enabling the storage and utilization of CO2 in all storage types.

The DOE Carbon Storage Program encompasses five technology areas: (1) Geologic Storage and Simulation and Risk Assessment, (2) Monitoring, Verification, Accounting (MVA) and Assessment, (3) CO2 Use and Re-Use, (4) Infrastructure (Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships), and (5) Focus Area for Sequestration Science. The first three technology areas comprise the core research and development (R&D) that includes studies ranging from applied laboratory to pilot-scale research to develop new technologies and systems for GHG mitigation through carbon storage. This project is part of the Core R&D MVA Technology Area, which works to develop tools and protocols to ensure CO2 storage permanence. Advanced monitoring technologies and supporting protocols must be developed to decrease the cost and uncertainty of measurements needed to quantify emissions to the atmosphere and satisfy regulations for tracking the fate of subsurface CO2. Monitoring technologies are being developed for surface (atmospheric), near-surface (underground sources of drinking water), and subsurface (injection and confining zone) applications. The program’s R&D strategy includes adapting and applying existing technologies that can be utilized in the next five years while concurrently developing innovative and advanced technologies for deployment in the decade beyond.

Primary Project Goal

The primary objective of this project is to develop and test a new, integrated approach for MVA of CO2 that is stored in deep geologic formations. The essence of this project’s approach is to integrate space-based reconnaissance techniques with ground-monitoring methods of seismic and geochemical techniques, including:

  • High-precision space geodesy to measure subtle surface displacements associated with pressure/volume changes at depth due to injection of CO2 in a storage reservoir (Figure 1).
  • Analytical and numerical (finite element) modeling to relate deformation at the surface to pressure/volume changes at depth.
  • New, state-of-the-art algorithms using passive seismic monitoring and use of compressional velocity, shear-wave velocity, and attenuation from recorded seismic data, to monitor fluid motions, porosity changes, and other conditions in the reservoir and overburden.
  • Geochemical reservoir modeling to assess the fate of injected CO2.
  • Geochemical surface monitoring to measure CO2 seepages should they occur, using a combination of sensors to measure concentration and isotopic ratios.

This project aims to develop a multi-component, fully integrated, low-cost methodology for assessing the fate of CO2 injected into a variety of geologic storage formations. The project team will integrate space geodesy, seismology, and geochemistry datasets in a series of procedures that will assess the storage efficiency, safety, and long-term fate of CO2 injected into various types of geologic storage formations. If successfully proven, the integrated methodology for CO2 monitoring in a storage reservoir can be implemented at relatively low cost at most proposed carbon storage sites. It will require only the installation of a sparse network of GPS, seismic, and geochemical stations, and low-cost commercial satellite imagery. This project also furthers the Carbon Storage Division programmatic goal of ensuring CO2 storage permanence within the storage formation.


Project Details