DOE Awards $21.3 Million to Study CO2 Underground Storage

By Beacon Staff

LUBBOCK, Texas – U.S. Department of Energy officials on Wednesday announced $21.3 million in funding for facilities to create safe and economical technologies nationwide for storing carbon dioxide in geologic formations.

Assistant Energy Secretary James Markowsky said in a conference call with reporters that the money will develop projects at 15 sites in a dozen states.

Researchers will study various facets of carbon capture and migration in different types of geologic formations.

Markowsky said the goal of the research at the universities and private companies is to “be able to predict” through modeling what happens to the carbon dioxide while it’s stored.

The hope is that the research will help the U.S. reduce emissions of greenhouse gas as well as develop and deploy near-zero-emission coal technologies.

The department awarded the facilities $15.8 million. Each site will contribute varying amounts that make up the remaining $5.5 million.

“These 15 projects are very broad, which is good,” said Markowsky

The research will complement what the department is already doing, he said.

Overall, the projects will look at injection of CO2 into reservoirs, storage capacity, plume migration, and containment by caprock and other trapping mechanisms, according to a DOE release on the funding.

There are three funded projects in Texas, two in California and one each in Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, New York, New Mexico, South Carolina, Virginia and Wyoming.

Eleven of the projects will last three years; the others will be completed in 18 to 24 months.

Two of the Texas projects will be carried out at the University of Texas in Austin. Researchers in one will complete simulations and experiments to establish proof-of-feasibility of a novel concept for assessing capillary trapping in reservoirs. In the other researchers will develop a prototype of a new computational approach to assess plume migration in a reservoir.

Geologic storage is focused on five types of formations: depleted oil and gas reservoirs, deep saline formations, unmineable coal seams, oil- and gas-rich organic shales, and basalts.

Oil and gas production can be increased by using CO2 storage in depleted reservoirs. In the saline formations there is potential for enormous capacity around the world, according to the release.

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