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NETL-Developed Tool Used in Carbon Storage Study for the Northern Michigan Basin

A team of researchers from government, academia and industry used NETL’s advanced carbon storage estimation tool called CO2-SCREEN to assess the feasibility of a commercial-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) storage complex in the Northern Michigan Basin (NMB) that could safely and cost-effectively store carbon emissions from industrial operations in the region. Use of the tool was documented in the “International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.”

CO2-SCREEN, which stands for CO2 Storage prospeCtive Resource Estimation Excel aNalysis, was developed by NETL Researchers Angela Goodman, Ph.D., and Sean Sanguinito and provides a substantive, user-friendly, and consistent mechanism to calculate CO2 storage resources so that decision-makers have enough information to reach conclusions about a site’s viability.

Specifically, researchers used CO2-SCREEN to calculate the storage potential of the Bass Island dolomite (BILD) saline reservoir, which is located within the NMB. The tool provided an estimate range between 3.5 and 12 gigatons (GT), with a middle estimate of 7 GT. This immense storage potential could hold many years’ worth of the region’s industrial CO2 emissions.

“Accurate and reliable predictions are essential for studies like the BILD analysis,” said Goodman. “CO2-SCREEN provided the kind of reliable figures that potential industrial partners require when considering the feasibility of a CO2 storage operation.”

Researchers chose to study the NMB because it offered several appealing features. For instance, a rich database of oil and gas wells already existed for the basin — information that could be used to increase the accuracy of carbon storage predictions. The area also included a large presence of existing and planned CO2 sources, such as power plants and cement manufacturing facilities. Finally, the environmental, regulatory and business climate was favorable for the development of CO2 storage operations.

“CO2-SCREEN has been used around the world to estimate the carbon storage potential of many saline reservoirs,” Goodman said. “Now, with the help of the NETL tool, the BILD has been identified by the authors of the journal article to be a strong candidate to host a storage complex as part of a wider DOE initiative.”

The referenced study supports efforts of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Storage Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) initiative, which is focusing on the development of geologic storage sites for the storage of 50+ million metric tons of CO2 from industrial sources.