In the first of two major project selections the department expects to
make this year in its carbon sequestration program, DOE said it will provide
$7.7 million to the laboratories over the next three years to study innovations
ranging from carbon dioxide filtering membranes to the development of
"biofilms" made up of carbon-converting microorganisms.
In seven of the eight projects, lab researchers will team with scientists
from the private sector, universities, or other agencies.
"Carbon sequestration is rapidly emerging as a promising third option
for dealing with greenhouse gas concerns -- joining energy efficiency
and the greater use of low-carbon fuels such as natural gas," said
Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Robert W. Gee. "The initiative
we are announcing today will draw on expertise from across our national
lab complex and the private sector to explore an exciting array of possibilities
for countering the buildup of global warming gases."
DOE's selections follow its announcement earlier this month of plans
to more than double funding for carbon sequestration research in its FY
2001 fossil energy budget. DOE is proposing $19.5 million for sequestration
projects next year, compared to $9.2 million in the current budget.
The department's goal is ultimately to make technologies for permanently
disposing of carbon gases so affordable that both industrialized and developing
countries could use them. DOE wants to develop concepts that cost only
$10 per ton of carbon, equivalent to adding only two-tenths of a cent
per kilowatt-hour to the cost of electricity (typical electricity rates
range from 4 cents to 12 cents per kilowatt-hour).
This spring DOE will announce a second group of carbon sequestration
projects, in this case selecting ideas proposed directly by industry.
The department's National Energy Technology Laboratory is evaluating more
than 60 candidate projects for this second set of projects.
The national laboratory projects are:
Category A - Multiple Laboratories with Industry Partners
- Los Alamos National Laboratory and Idaho National Engineering
and Environmental Laboratory will collaborate with the University
of Colorado, Pall Corp. and Shell Oil Co., in a 3-year project to develop
an improved high-temperature polymer membrane for separating carbon
dioxide (CO2) from methane and nitrogen gas streams. proposed award:
Project Title: CO2 Separation Using Thermally Optimized Membranes
Lead Researcher: Dr. Robert C. Dye, Los Alamos National
Laboratory, (505) 667-3404 e-mail: email@example.com
Los Alamos National Laboratory, in collaboration with the University
of Colorado, INEEL, Pall Corporation and Shell Oil Company, is developing
a high-temperature polymer membrane that separates more CO2
from the methane and nitrogen gas streams than current polymer membranes.
The polymer membranes will be tested at temperatures from 100 to 400
degrees C to take advantage of enhanced gas diffusion as it interplays
with the polymer structure. This approach will maintain high selectivity
while creating polymer membranes with tunable permeability at an optimum
temperature range. Functional sites will be placed in the structure
to facilitate transfer of carbon dioxide through the membrane.
- Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories will
join with Strata Production Co. and the New Mexico Petroleum Recovery
Research Center in a 3-year study of ways to inject CO2 into depleted
oil reservoirs. Proposed award: $2.025 million.
Project Title: Sequestration of CO2 in a Depleted Oil Reservoir:
A Comprehensive Modeling and Site Monitoring Project
Lead Researcher: Dr. Henry R. Westrich, Sandia National
Laboratory, (505) 844-9092 e-mail: HRWESTR@sandia.gov
Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, in collaboration with
Strata Production Company and a graduate student from the New Mexico
Petroleum Recovery Center, will investigate down-hole injection of
CO2 into depleted oil reservoirs. This research will help
to validate safe, long-term sequestration of CO2 emissions
from the combustion of fossil fuels in geologic formations. A comprehensive
suite of computer simulations, laboratory tests, field measurements
and monitoring efforts to understand, predict and monitor the coupled
geomechanical, geochemical, and hydrogeologic processes will be studied
for three years. Field data will provide a rare opportunity to test,
refine and calibrate computer models for this pilot field test. Both
geophysical and geochemical techniques will be employed to monitor
the transport and fate of the injected CO2 plume. Ultimately,
the models and data will be used to predict storage capacity and physical
and chemical changes in reservoir properties, such as fluid composition,
porosity, permeability, and phase relations.
- Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, and Oak Ridge National
Laboratories will cooperate with Chevron, Texaco, Pan Canadian
Resources, Shell CO2 Co., BP-Amoco, Statoil, and the Alberta Research
Council Consortium, in a 3-year study of geologic sequestration of carbon
dioxide in formations such as brine reservoirs, depleted oil reservoirs,
and coalbeds. Proposed award: $2.25 million.
Project Title: Geological Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide
Lead Researcher: Dr. Sally M. Benson, Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory, (510) 486-5878, e-mail: SMBenson@lbl.gov
Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, and Oak Ridge national laboratories,
in cooperation with Chevron, Texaco, Pan Canadian Resources, Shell
CO2 Company, BP-Amoco, Statoil, and the Alberta Research
Council Consortium, will investigate safe and cost-effective methods
for geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. The project will conduct
a set of targeted R&D tasks that address:
- lowering the cost of geologic sequestration in targeted formations
such as: brine reservoirs, depleted oil reservoirs, and coalbeds;
- selecting the best sequestration sites by developing a set of
screening criteria and siting guidelines;
- identifying and demonstrating cost-effective and innovative monitoring
technologies to track CO2 migration; and
- predicting and verifying that long-term sequestration practices
are safe, effective and do not introduce new environmental problems.
This effort will help to identify early opportunities to apply these
technologies in pilot-tests to facilitate near-term commercial application.
Category B - Optional Private Sector Participation
- Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory will
team with Purdue University, Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California
Gas, and BP Amoco to develop a novel "gas-liquid contactor"
that creates a whirlwind-like vortex for separating CO2 from natural
gas and flue gas. Project duration: three years. Proposed award: $750,000.
Lead Researcher: Dr. Michael G. McKellar, Idaho
National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, (208) 525-1992,
Project Title: Vortex Tube Design and Demonstration
A joint INEEL-industry partnership will develop and demonstrate a
novel gas-liquid contactor for separating CO2 from natural
gas and flue gas. The objective is to achieve at least 50% improvement
in performance and cost over conventional gas absorption technology
for separating CO2 from dilute mixtures (less than 15%
CO2) by employing an operationally robust vortex tube contactor.
The vortex tube design and operation will be optimized to develop
the necessary information for process scale-up and eventual field
demonstration. There is significant cost sharing from industrial partners,
including Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Gas, and BP
- Argonne National Laboratory will conduct a 2-year
study of ways to retrofit a coal power plant with recirculating technology
to concentrate carbon dioxide sufficiently to transport it to sequestration
sites. Proposed award: $260,000.
Project Title: Evaluation of Coal Fired Power Plants with
Flue Gas Recirculation
Lead Researcher: Dr. Richard Doctor, Argonne National
Laboratory, (630) 252-9728 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supporting a pilot plant demonstration, Argonne National Laboratory
is evaluating the recovery of CO2 from pulverized-coal-fired
power plants retrofitted for flue gas recirculation. The full energy
cycle will be considered including mining, coal transportation, coal
preparation, the PC-fired boiler with power generation, particulate
removal and flue gas recirculation, pipeline CO2 conditioning,
and pipeline transport of CO2 to sequestration. Process
design conditions and costs will be estimated. Issues relating to
CO2 sequestration in a variety of host reservoirs will
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will team
with the U.S. Geological Survey and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
in a 2-year study of ice-like hydrates that form when cold CO2
is pumped into deep ocean basins. Proposed award: $360,000.
Project Title: Accelerated Carbonate Dissolution as a CO2
Capture and Sequestration Strategy
Lead Researcher: Fred Followill, Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory, (925) 422-3920, e-mail: email@example.com
The success of pumping CO2 into ocean basins depends on
the chemical and mechanical stability of the CO2 hydrate
that forms when seawater first contacts cold CO2. However,
the properties and structure of the ice-like hydrate are generally
poorly understood, partly because of a lack of pure material for testing.
The ice physics team from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
and Lead Researcher: Dr. David J. Borns of the United States Geological
Survey will use its facilities to (1) routinely manufacture pure,
polycrystalline CO2 hydrates, and (2) investigate and measure
many of their chemical, physical, thermal and mechanical properties.
The team will make available to other researchers standard material
for analysis, measurement and testing. In collaboration with the Monterey
Bay Area Research Institute, the team will conduct hydrate stability
tests in an actual ocean-floor setting using one of the institute's
remotely operated submersibles.
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory will join with The Ohio State University and Virginia
Polytechnic Institute in a 2-year project to study the use of soil enhancers
made from the solid wastes of coal plants, paper mills, and sewage treatment
facilities to improve the natural carbon uptake of lands disturbed by
mining, highway construction or poor management practices. Proposed
Project Title: Enhancing Carbon Sequestration and Reclamation
of Degraded Land
Lead Researcher: Dr. Anthony V. Palumbo, Oak Ridge
National Laboratory, (423) 576-8002, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The DOE Center for Research on Enhancing Carbon Sequestration in
Terrestrial Ecosystems will expand its research to include lands that
have been disturbed by mining, highway construction, or poor management
practice. The new approach focuses on soil enhancers that contain
solid by-products from fossil-fuel combustion, paper production, and
biological waste-treatment facilities. The primary goal is to identify
and quantify the key factors leading to successful carbon sequestration
and reclamation of degraded lands. The results will be summarized
in a set of guidelines containing practical information about matching
amendment combinations to land types and optimum site-management practices.
Long-term field studies will be designed and site(s) will be recommended
for demonstration and optimization.
- Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory
will team with Montana State University, and the University of Memphis
in a 2-year study of ways to grow microorganisms known as cyanobacteria
as "biofilms" that could capture and convert carbon dioxide through
photosynthesis. Proposed award: $420,000.
Project Title: Enhancement of CO2 Emissions Conversion
Efficiency by Structured Microorganisms
Lead Researcher: Dr. Richard E. Rice, Idaho National
Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, (208) 526-1992, e-mail:
INEEL, Montana State University, and the University of Memphis have
formed a team to develop cyanobacterial conversion of carbon dioxide
(CO2) into useful hydrocarbon products. Current CO2
conversion efficiencies for microorganisms are low, and economics
need to be improved. In the proposed work, cyanobacterial species
will be grown as a biofilm, a film of layered adhering cells. The
biofilm physiology will be optimized for maximum thickness for efficient
photosynthesis and CO2 saturation. Hydrocarbon production
will be measured, and a conceptual design and economics determined
for a facility to treat CO2 emissions from a 10-megawatt