CCS and Power Systems

Carbon Storage - Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships/Injection Projects


An Assessment of Geological Carbon Sequestration Options in the Illinois Basin - Phase II & III


Performer: University of Illinois

Project No: FC26-05NT42588


Program Background and Project Benefits

The U.S. Department of Energy Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (RCSP) Initiative consists of seven partnerships. The purpose of these partnerships is to determine the best approaches for permanently storing carbon dioxide (CO2) in geologic formations. Each RCSP includes stakeholders comprised of state and local agencies, private companies, electric utilities, universities, and nonprofit organizations. These partnerships are the core of a nationwide network helping to establish the most suitable technologies, regulations, and infrastructure needs for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). The RCSPs include more than 400 distinct organizations, spanning 43 states and four Canadian provinces, and are developing the framework needed to validate carbon storage technologies. The RCSPs are unique in that each one is determining which of the numerous CCUS approaches are best suited for their specific region of the country and are also identifying regulatory and infrastructure requirements needed for future commercial deployment. The RCSP Initiative is being implemented in three phases, the Characterization Phase, Validation Phase, and Development Phase. In September 2003, the Characterization Phase began with the seven partnerships working to determine the locations of CO2 sources and to assess suitable locations for CO2 storage. The Validation Phase (2005–2013) focused on evaluating promising CO2 storage opportunities through a series of small scale field tests in the seven partnership regions. Finally, the Development Phase (2008-2020) activities are proceeding and will continue evaluating how CO2 capture, transportation, injection, and storage can be achieved safely, permanently, and economically at large scales. These tests are providing tremendous insight regarding injectivity, capacity, and containment of CO2 in the various geologic formations identified by the partnerships. Results and assessments from these efforts will assist commercialization efforts for future carbon storage projects in North America.

The Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) is led by the Illinois State Geological Survey in collaboration with the Indiana, and Kentucky State Geological Surveys, and has a research focus on the entire state of Illinois, southwest Indiana, and western Kentucky. This partnership was established to assess carbon capture, transportation, and geologic carbon storage options in deep coal seams, mature oil fields, and deep saline formations in the Illinois Basin. Regional point source emissions in the MGSC area account for more than 291 million metric tons of CO2 per year, or about 11 percent of the total point source CO2 emissions in the United States. The MSGC has determined that the Illinois Basin’s regional geology offers exceptional geologic opportunities to safely and permanently store these emissions.The MGSC region currently emits 291 million metric tons of CO2 annually. The target Mt. Simon Sandstone is estimated to have a regional potential CO2 storage capacity in the Illinois Basin of 12 to 158 billion metric tons. Based on the region’s current emissions rate, 50 percent of the regional emissions for the next 100 years amounts to 15.1 billion metric tons, a total amount that is roughly equivalent to the low end of the basin’s estimated storage capacity. Thus, this project is vital to determine the storage capabilities of the Mt. Simon Sandstone. The previously described large scale field test is critical to understanding that adequate injectivity, containment, and capacity exist in storage formations throughout the United States. This will further commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies at an adequate scale to reduce GHG emissions from industrial plants.

The MGSC region currently emits 291 million metric tons of CO2 annually. The target Mt. Simon Sandstone is estimated to have a regional potential CO2 storage capacity in the Illinois Basin of 12 to 158 billion metric tons. Based on the region’s current emissions rate, 50 percent of the regional emissions for the next 100 years amounts to 15.1 billion metric tons, a total amount that is roughly equivalent to the low end of the basin’s estimated storage capacity. Thus, this project is vital to determine the storage capabilities of the Mt. Simon Sandstone. The previously described large scale field test is critical to understanding that adequate injectivity, containment, and capacity exist in storage formations throughout the United States. This will further commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies at an adequate scale to reduce GHG emissions from industrial plants.

Goals and Objectives

The primary objective of the DOE’s Carbon Storage Program is to develop technologies to safely and permanently store CO2 and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions without adversely affecting energy use or hindering economic growth. The Programmatic goals of Carbon Storage research are: (1) develop and validate technologies to ensure for 99 percent storage permanence; (2) develop technologies to improve reservoir storage efficiency while ensuring containment effectiveness; (3) support industry’s ability to predict CO2 storage capacity in geologic formations to within 30 percent; and (4) developing Best Practices Manuals (BPMs) for monitoring, verification, accounting (MVA), and assessment; site screening, selection, and initial characterization; public outreach; well management activities; and risk analysis and simulation.

MGSC’s overall goal is to carry out a fully integrated demonstration of monitored geological carbon storage in the largest-capacity saline reservoir in the Illinois Basin. Specific objectives include:

  • To inject 1 million metric tons of supercritical CO2 from an industrial source into a regionally significant saline reservoir to demonstrate the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the process of isolating the CO2 stream from the atmosphere.

  • To inject a volume of CO2 such that the plume will be of sufficient size to monitor geophysically and will adequately emulate larger volumes in terms of requirements for compression/dehydration, injection well construction, and environmental monitoring, and project results can be effectively extrapolated to commercial-scale operations and multiple sites within the Illinois Basin.

  • To establish a project development model for site characterization, permitting, drilling and completion, environmental monitoring, and outcome assessment that will inform the public, scientists, regulators, and legislators on regional, national, and global scales about geologic carbon sequestration, and that will additionally support energy facility development.

  • To demonstrate the development and use of a dynamic geologic model for the site that evolves as new data are acquired and incorporates advanced understanding of the fate of the injected CO2 and its interactions with reservoir, seal, and subsurface fluids.


Project Details