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Geological Carbon Sequestration, Spelunking and You

August 11, 2010 - 2:45pm


Here’s a riddle for you: What do spelunkers, mineralogists and the latest Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) awardees have in common?

They’re all experts in tapping into projects of geological proportions!

Today, Secretary Chu announced the selection of 15 projects aimed at developing and testing technologies to store CO2 in oil and gas reservoirs, deep saline formations, and basalts (just to name a few). Funded with $21.3 million over three years, these CCS projects will help us gain a deeper understanding of the many factors impacting the advancement of safe and commercial scale CO2 storage.

The Carbon Sequestration Atlas, created by the Department's National Energy Technology Laboratory, estimates there are more than 3,500 billion metric tons and 1,100+ years of CO2 storage potential in the U.S. and Canada. The 15 university teams and companies selected today will tackle the critical challenges to tapping this vast storage potential, including capacity, leakage risk, injection rates, plume migration and containment.

Here’s a sampling of the projects announced today: (Warning – tech talk ahead)

In Brea, California, Paulsson, Inc. investigators will develop a reservoir-assessment tool which uses ultra-high resolution P and S wave images to obtain detailed characterization of storage sites.

In Bozeman, Montana, Montana State University researchers will create biomineralization seals for different rock types and field conditions, develop a biomineralization seal experimental protocol and test a mesoscale high-pressure rock test system.

In Lawrence, Kansas, University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. investigators will conduct tests of the volume curvature seismic tool at the Arbuckle saline carbonate formation to evaluate the tool’s effectiveness in assessing reservoirs and their features such as sags, flexures and fractures.

To find a complete list of the CCS project selections and learn more about geologic carbon sequestration, visit the Office of Fossil Energy’s website.