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NETL Data Portal To Accelerate Completion of Permit Applications for Carbon Storage
Carbon Storage Fact Sheet Cover

NETL has launched a new data portal that provides information needed to accelerate the process of completing federal drilling permit applications to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, in the subsurface.

An NETL project team developed the Class VI Data Support Tool Geodatabase by leveraging data from the Carbon Storage Open Database, the Energy Data eXchange (EDX), the U.S. Geological Survey and other sources. The geodatabase is free and publicly available. It is hosted on EDX, NETL’s virtual data collaboration and curation platform for data-driven technology development.

Class VI wells are used to inject CO2 into deep geologic formations solely for the purpose of permanently storing the greenhouse gas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tailored Class VI program rules as a part of its Underground Injection Control Program to ensure these wells are appropriately sited, constructed, tested, monitored, funded and closed once injection activities are completed. Most projects are intended to store captured CO2 deep underground in saline geologic formations.

“There’s a lot of valuable information out there, but it exists in disparate forms and requires substantial time and effort to collect,” said Paige Morkner, a research scientist. “What we have done is pulled this data together in a central database. Having many of these datasets in one location provides a valuable tool for operators, project leads and researchers to find, query and download relevant data to help complete their Class VI permit applications.”

Those preparing Class VI permit applications can now use the geodatabase to query, explore and download spatial data for the entire United States. Once downloaded, the data can be queried for use on a state-by-state basis using software such as Eris and ArcGIS.

Morkner and her colleagues fast-tracked the development of the new tool. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which was signed into law last August and increased federal tax incentives for carbon management projects, is driving industry and developers to jump-start subsurface sequestration activities.

“The act raises the maximum amount of the credit for capturing and sequestering carbon from $50 per metric ton to $85 per metric. Commercial interest in carbon management technologies and projects and the need to complete applications for Class VI permits is ramping up quickly,” said Brian Strazisar, the project’s co-lead along with Morkner.

NETL’s new geodatabase provides developers with technology to visualize subsurface data from the CO2 reservoir to the surface so they can safely and permanently sequester CO2, a critical component of the Biden Administration’s goal to achieve a 100% carbon emissions-free electricity sector in the United States by 2035 and a net-zero clean energy economy by 2050.

Upgrades to the geodatabase are planned. By December, the geodatabase will be integrated into a data visualization dashboard tool, which will enable users to interact with the data in a virtual environment and easily pull relevant spatial data and information into maps for a Class VI permit application without having to download the data to their local computer.

“Our data support work is a valuable step forward. It will enable operators, researchers and other carbon storage community members to quickly find and query publicly available spatial data used to produce some of the narratives and maps necessary to complete the site characterization process needed to file a Pre-Construction Class VI permit application with the EPA,” Morkner said.

NETL is a DOE national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.