Washington, DC The most promising methods for assessing potential carbon dioxide (CO2) geologic storage sites – a crucial component of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology – is the focus of the latest in a series of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) CCS "best practices" manuals.
Developed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the manual – Site Screening, Site Selection and Initial Characterization for Storage of CO2 in Deep Geologic Formations – is a resource for future project developers and CO2 producers and transporters. It can also be used to apprise government agencies of the best practices for exploring potential CO2 geologic storage sites and to inform the general public about the rigorous analyses conducted for potential storage sites.
CCS is considered by many experts to be an important option, along with greater energy efficiency and use of renewable and nuclear energy, in a portfolio strategy for reducing human-generated CO2 emissions associated with potential global climate change. Developing best practices – or reliable and consistent standards and operational characteristics for CO2 collection, injection and storage – is essential for providing the basis for a legal and regulatory framework and encouraging widespread global CCS deployment.
The newest manual, the fourth in a series, focuses on the exploration phase of the site characterization process, and communicates rigorous analyses and guidelines for paring down potential sub-regions into qualified sites for geologic storage. Three described stages—site screening, site selection and initial characterization—include specific elements to be analyzed.
The manual does not promote one specific methodology for determining storage resources; instead, it provides a framework for reporting resources calculated using methods developed by DOE, the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the United States Geological Survey, and others.
The process diagrams and guidelines described in the manual are integrated into a proposed CO2 geologic storage classification system. The system integrates processes and guidelines developed from the regional partnership’s activities, such as regional characterization, small and large-scale injection projects, and regional storage resource assessments.
The proposed classification system builds on the existing Petroleum Resources Management System (PRMS), sponsored by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, America Association of Petroleum Geologists, World Petroleum Council, and Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers. The PRMS has standardized the definitions of reserves and resources throughout the petroleum industry.
Development of the geologic storage system proposed in the new manual will be instrumental in developing consistent industry-standard terminology and guidelines for communicating storage resources and storage capacity estimates, including project risk, to stakeholders.
All four best-practices manuals, as well as other documents and reference materials related to carbon capture and storage, can be found on NETL’s Carbon Sequestration Reference Shelf.