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DOE Awards First Three Large-Scale Carbon Sequestration Projects

October 9, 2007 - 3:14pm

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U.S. Projects Total $318 Million and Further President Bush's Initiatives to Advance Clean Energy Technologies to Confront Climate Change

WASHINGTON, DC - In a major step forward for demonstrating the promise of clean energy technology, U.S Deputy Secretary of Energy Clay Sell today announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the first three large-scale carbon sequestration projects in the United States and the largest single set in the world to date.  The three projects - Plains Carbon Dioxide Reduction Partnership; Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership; and Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration - will conduct large volume tests for the storage of one million or more tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in deep saline reservoirs.  DOE plans to invest $197 million over ten years, subject to annual appropriations from Congress, for the projects, whose estimated value including partnership cost share is $318 million.  These projects are the first of several sequestration demonstration projects planned through DOE's Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships.

The formations to be tested during this third phase of the regional partnerships program are recognized as the most promising of the geologic basins in the United States.  Collectively, these formations have the potential to store more than one hundred years of CO2 emissions from all major point sources in North America.

"Successful demonstration of large volume carbon capture and storage technology plays a key role in achieving President Bush's goals for a cleaner energy future," Deputy Secretary of Energy Clay Sell said.  "Coal is vitally important to America's energy security and this technology will help enable our Nation, and future generations, to use this abundant resource more efficiently and without emitting greenhouse gas emissions."

The projects include participation from 27 states and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.  They will demonstrate the entire CO2 injection process-pre-injection characterization, injection process monitoring, and post-injection monitoring-at large volumes to determine the ability of different geologic settings to permanently store CO2.

The projects awarded today are as follows:

  • Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership - The Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership, led by the Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota, will conduct geologic CO2 storage projects in the Alberta and Williston Basins.  The Williston Basin project in North Dakota will couple enhanced oil recovery and CO2 storage in a deep carbonate formation that is also a major saline formation. The CO2 for this project will come from a post-combustion capture facility located at a coal-fired power plant in the region.  A second test will be conducted in northwestern Alberta, Canada, and will demonstrate the co-sequestration of CO2 and hydrogen sulfide from a large gas-processing plant into a deep saline formation.  This will provide data about how hydrogen sulfide affects the sequestration process.  The Plains partnership includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin, along with the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. 
    Total Project Cost: $135,586,059
    DOE Share: $67,000,000
    Partner Share: $68,586,059
  • Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership - This partnership, led by Southern States Energy Board, will demonstrate CO2 storage in the lower Tuscaloosa Formation Massive Sand Unit.  This geologic formation stretches from Texas to Florida and has the potential to store more than 200 years of CO2 emissions from major point sources in the region.  The partnership will inject CO2 at two locations to assess different CO2 streams and how the heterogeneity of the formation affects the injection and containment.  Injection of several million tons of CO2 from a natural deposit is expected to begin in late 2008.  The project will then conduct a second injection into the formation using CO2 captured from a coal-fired power plant in the region.  The results of these projects will provide the foundation for the future development of CO2 capture and storage opportunities.  The Southeast partnership covers Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and southeast Texas.
    Total Project Cost: $93,689,242
    DOE Share: $64,949,079
    Partner Share: $28,740,163
  • Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration - Coordinated by the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, the Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration will inject several million tons of CO2 into the Jurassic-age Entrada Sandstone Formation in the southwestern United States.  The Entrada formation stretches from Colorado to Wyoming and is a significant storage reservoir in the region.  The partnership will inject CO2 into the formation after extensive baseline characterization and simulation modeling.  The project will test the limits of injection and demonstrate the integrity of the cap rock to trap the gas.  Information gained from the project will be used to evaluate locations throughout the region where future power plants are being considered.  The Southwest partnership includes the states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Utah, and portions of Texas, Wyoming, and Arizona.
    Total Project Cost: $88,845,571
    DOE Share: $65,437,395
    Partner Share: $23,408,176

Over the first 12 to 24 months of these projects, researchers and industry partners will characterize the injection sites and then complete the modeling, monitoring, and infrastructure improvements needed before CO2 can be injected.  These efforts will establish a baseline for future monitoring after CO2 injection begins.  Each project will then inject a large volume of CO2 into a regionally significant storage formation.  After injection, researchers will monitor and model the CO2 to determine the effectiveness of the storage reservoir.

These three projects will double the number of large-volume carbon storage demonstrations in operation worldwide.  Current projects include the Weyburn Project in Canada, which uses CO2 captured during coal gasification in North Dakota for enhanced oil recovery; Norway's Sleipner Project, which stores CO2 in a saline formation under the North Sea; and the In Salah Project in Algeria, which stores CO2 in a natural gas field.  The successful demonstration of carbon storage in these U.S. geologic basins by the Regional Partnerships will play a crucial role in future infrastructure development and sequestration technology to mitigate CO2 emissions.

The newly awarded projects kick off the third phase of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program.  This initiative, launched by DOE in 2003, forms the centerpiece of national efforts to develop the infrastructure and knowledge base needed to place carbon sequestration technologies on the path to commercialization.  During the first phase of the program, seven partnerships - consisting of organizations from government, industry and academia, and extending across the United States and into Canada - characterized the potential for CO2 storage in deep oil-, gas-, coal-, and saline-bearing formations.  When Phase I ended in 2005, the partnerships had identified more than 3,000 billion metric tons of potential storage capacity in promising sinks. This has the potential to represent more than 1,000 years of storage capacity from point sources in North America.  In the program's second phase, the partnerships implemented a portfolio of small-scale geologic and terrestrial sequestration projects.  The purpose of these tests was to validate that different geologic formations have the injectivity, containment, and storage effectiveness needed for long-term sequestration.

For more information on DOE's Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships, visit the Fossil Energy website.

Media contact(s):

Megan Barnett, (202) 586-4940

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