Release Date: October 12, 2006
|DOE Project Injects 700 Tons of Carbon Dioxide Into Texas Sandstone Formation
Researchers to Determine the Ability of Brine Formations to Sequester Greenhouse Gas
WASHINGTON, DC - When scientists recently pumped 700 metric tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) a mile underground as a follow-up to a 2004 effort, they initiated a series of tests to determine the feasibility of storing the CO2 in brine formations, a major step forward in the U.S. Department of Energy's carbon sequestration program.
"Building on earlier Frio Brine tests, this current project will take the next logical step in the Nation's carbon sequestration program to evaluate the storage potential of underground formations," said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Jeffrey Jarrett. "This test will help to advance our injection and monitoring technology to the point where we know what formations can safely and effectively store greenhouse gases in each region of the country to address global climate change."
Researchers from the lead project partner, the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology, injected the CO2 into a test well near Dayton, Texas, about 40 miles northeast of Houston. The research team, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Sandia Technologies LLC, has replicated in a new sandstone interval the initial tests conducted in 2004 to evaluate the fate of CO2 in the underground brine formation.
In the 2004 tests, the researchers successfully applied computer models to predict that the CO2 would quickly stop after traveling a short distance through the formation. Concurrently, the instruments used by the researchers were able to accurately measure both the pattern of movement and the final distribution of the carbon dioxide.
During the first weeks of the current year-long monitoring project, researchers have already begun to collect important data on the chemistry, pressure, and temperature changes caused by injection and the processes by which the formation returns to a stable condition. By the end of the project, researchers will have collected new information to better assess and monitor larger-scale, longer-duration injections of CO2, an important step forward in understanding the sequestration process.
The Frio Brine Pilot project falls within the Gulf Coast Carbon Center area, a participant in DOE's Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership. DOE created a network of regional government/industry partnerships to help determine the best approaches for capturing and permanently storing gases in different areas of the country.
Sequestration of CO2 and other gases plays a major role in reducing the effects of greenhouse gases associated with global warming. Carbon sequestration also plays a major role in the nation's power plant of the future, FutureGen, a $1 billion DOE effort to build the world's first zero-emissions coal-burning plant that will produce electricity and hydrogen while storing carbon dioxide.
|Contact: Mike Jacobs, FE Office of Communications, 202-586-0507|