Release Date: April 24, 2007
|Regional Partnership Completes 8,000-foot
Well for Critical Carbon Sequestration Assessment
Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Prepares
for Test of Geologic Carbon Sequestration in Appalachian Basin
WASHINGTON, DC - The Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) has completed an 8,000-foot well at FirstEnergy's R. E. Burger Plant near Shadyside, Ohio, in preparation for a geologic sequestration field test. Sponsored by the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory, the field test will determine the feasibility of storing CO2 in deep saline formations in the Appalachian Basin.
"The carbon sequestration field test in the Appalachian Basin is an important step in turning the promise of carbon sequestration into a reality," said Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Tom Shope. "By assessing carbon storage in an area of the country that produces 20 percent of the nation's electricity, the test helps pave the way toward a future in which America's abundant fossil resources can be used to produce energy without contributing to global climate change."
Geologic sequestration - the permanent storage of CO2 in oil and gas wells, unmineable coal seams, saline reservoirs, and other geologic formations - is part of a broad approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electric power plants, cement manufacturing plants, and the like. Terrestrial sequestration, another possibility being pursued by the Department of Energy, takes advantage of natural and enhanced processes to increase the amount of CO2 stored in soil and vegetation.
The test well at the Burger plant - more than one-and-a-half miles deep - will permit further definition of the site's geology through analyses of the rock strata. Developing a more exact profile of the rocks underlying the sequestration site will confirm its suitability for CO2 sequestration. These analyses will take several months to complete before they can be reviewed and approved by the Ohio regulators.
If approved, the well will be used to inject a small amount of CO2 - equal to perhaps two days' worth of CO2 emissions from the Burger plant - deep underground. The CO2 is expected to spread through porous rock thousands of feet below the surface and be permanently sealed in place by layers of dense rock above. The area's water supply, which is located just 100 feet belowground, will not be affected in any way.
The Burger power plant is also the planned site for a CO2 -capture test. Under a cooperative research and development agreement with the Energy Department, Powerspan Corporation is preparing a pilot demonstration of CO2 capture technology, integrated with their current pollution-control trial of Electro-Catalytic-Oxidation(TM) technology. CO2 captured during this test will be used for the injection demonstration, based on technical and economic feasibility analysis.
The field test at the Burger plant, located across the river from Moundsville, West Virginia, is one of three geologic tests being conducted by the MRCSP. A second sequestration field test is planned in the Michigan Basin geologic area, and the third in the Cincinnati Arch area. These field tests are part of more than 20 similar projects underway across the country by other regional sequestration partnerships.
The Carbon Sequestration Regional Partnerships were formed as part of the Department of Energy's Carbon Sequestration Program in 1992. Now extending through 41 states, four Canadian provinces, and three Indian nations, the partnerships includes nearly 350 state agencies, universities, and private companies. This national network exists because of regional differences in fossil-fuel electric power production and underlying geological formations. The field tests will help to determine the sequestration options best suited to each specific region.
After the CO2 sequestration field test at the Burger plant has been monitored and analyzed and the test completed, the well will be plugged or capped in accordance with appropriate environmental rules. Following successful small-scale tests of carbon sequestration, the Carbon Sequestration Regional Partnerships plan to select seven sites across the country for tests of large-scale geologic CO2 storage.