Beginning in 2019, the Regional Initiative to Accelerate Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) Deployment is supporting the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management’s (FECM) mission to help the United States meet its need for secure, affordable, and environmentally sound fossil energy supplies. This builds upon advancements made by the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (RCSP) Initiative by identifying and addressing challenges to the widespread, commercial deployment of CCUS. There are four individual Regional Initiatives that gather and analyze information for their respective regions, work with existing and future demonstration projects, and coordinate certain efforts related to past and current field projects such as the Department of Energy’s CarbonSAFE. By leveraging the strengths of the new Regional Initiatives, it will be possible to identify and promote potential carbon transportation/utilization/storage projects that will help meet goals for a future net zero carbon economy. The four Regional Initiatives have been established to further the mission of the U.S. Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory Carbon Storage Program.
The primary objective of the Regional Initiatives is to identify and help address regional storage and transport hurdles affecting commercial deployment of CCUS by performing the following activities:
Battelle Memorial Institute combined two RCSPs—the Midwest RCSP led by Battelle and the Midwest Geologic Sequestration Consortium led by the Illinois State Geological Survey— to form the Midwest Regional Carbon Initiative comprising midwestern and northeastern states. The initiative is supporting key activities, including: (1) expanding regional stress/risk assessment to an additional level of detail in new areas; (2) expanding the acquisition of legacy seismic/well data from small oil/gas producers; (3) evaluating conceptual project definition for Atlantic offshore areas and east coast sources; (4) expanding industrial collaboration efforts to new sites/partners and collecting data from brine injection wells for use in storage assessment; (5) incorporating energy transition issues (e.g., hydrogen, direct air capture, bio-enhanced CCUS, cybersecurity, environmental justice, and job creation/workforce development) into infrastructure assessments; and (6) expanding outreach efforts to regional intergovernmental groups and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology formed a new Carbon Utilization and Storage Partnership, whose primary objective is to conduct activities that include: (1) identification of near-term storage opportunities and assistance with the development of commercial storage operation(s); (2) focused studies on CO2 injection and storage into basalts; (3) investigation of the use of CO2 as a geothermal working fluid; and (4) acceleration of the development of at least two “storage hubs” in the region.
Southern States Energy Board formed SECARB-USA, encompassing parts of southern states with diverse storage opportunities in oil, saline, and unconventional reservoir settings. The project is engaging in activities that include: (1) characterization of the Georgia Coastal Plain; (2) detailed reservoir characterization in south Arkansas; (3) development of baseline data gathering and assessment for integrated blue/green hydrogen potential with CCUS, direct air capture, and bio-enhanced CCUS to screen and rank regional “storage hubs”; (4) engagement with the hard-to-decarbonize pulp and paper industry in the region; and (5) enhanced prediction of plume migration through increased understanding of CO2-brine-mineral interactions in multi-phase regions.
The University of North Dakota formed the PCOR Partnership to foster the development of CCUS in northwestern states and nearby Canadian provinces. Areas included in this region are dominated by fossil energy production and coincide with abundant opportunities for geologic storage in sedimentary basins. The PCOR partnership is conducting activities that include: (1) enhancement and optimization of CO2 storage at the Red Trail Energy site (e.g., reduce surface impact, lower health, safety and environment risk, integrate newer monitoring tools such as InSAaR, semi-permanent active seismic monitoring, fiberoptic acoustic/strain sensing); (2) development of CO2 purity specifications to address compatibility with pipeline material specifications; (3) assistance to future large-scale storage projects as stepping stones to future infrastructure development; and (4) expansion of regional CCUS roadmaps to include Alaska.