DOE awards $44m for advanced CO2 capture projects

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) on Nov. 30 announced that 16 carbon storage projects have been selected to receive more than $44 million for cost-shared research and development.

The funding is part of DOE’s Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) initiative, which seeks to help mitigate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Projects selected will address key research gaps in the path toward the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, including the development of commercial-scale (50+ million metric tons CO2) geologic storage sites for CO2 from industrial sources. These sources, such as cement and iron and steel production, currently account for an estimated 21% of U.S. carbon emissions.

“CCS will play a very important role as the world moves toward a lower-carbon economy,” said Lynn Orr, DOE’s Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “The U.S. must continue a leadership role in the development and deployment of CO2 storage technologies as a key element of a diversified energy economy.”

The selected projects will build on the lessons learned from FE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships’ (RCSP) large-scale field projects while considering the next set of technical challenges for carbon storage.

The selected projects under CarbonSAFE aim to develop integrated CCS complexes that are constructed and permitted for operation in the 2025 timeframe over a series of sequential phases of development: Integrated CCS Pre-Feasibility, Storage Complex Feasibility, Site Characterization, Permitting and Construction. The selections announced Nov. 30 apply to the first two of those phases.

CCS Pre-feasibility Projects – Phase I

Ten recipients representing thirteen projects were selected under Phase I for more than $15 million in federal funding. These projects will provide a pre‑feasibility study for a commercial-scale geological storage site. Objectives include formation of a CCS coordination team to address regulatory, legislative, technical, public policy, commercial, financial, and other issues specific to commercial scale deployment of the CO2 storage projects.

The projects will develop a plan encompassing technical requirements, as well as both economic feasibility and public acceptance of an eventual storage project. Descriptions of the Phase I projects, including federal funding are shown below; funding amounts may vary pending final negotiations.

  • Carbon Management Institute at the University of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyoming) — The Carbon Management Institute at the University of Wyoming will undertake two projects (DOE Cost: $2,385,919). A pre-feasibility assessment for secure, commercial-scale CO2 capture and storage will be performed at the Rock Springs Uplift (RSU). A scenario will be considered that includes a CO2 source assessment based CO2 capture at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s coal-fired Dry Fork Power Station, which also houses the Wyoming Integrated Test Center, a CCS test Facility. The project will include a transportation assessment of the existing CO2 pipeline network and the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor and an evaluation of suitable storage reservoirs within the immediate vicinity of the Dry Fork Power Station.
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, Illinois) — The University of Illinois and the Illinois State Geological Survey will develop a plan to address the challenges, opportunities, and risks involved in building a commercial, integrated CCS project in the Illinois East Sub-Basin region. DOE Cost: $1,212,187.
  • University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX) — The University of Texas at Austin will perform a commercial-scale initial characterization of a near-offshore storage complex on the inner shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. DOE Cost: $1,194,383.
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT) — The University of Utah will conduct a high-level sub-basinal evaluation for potential storage sites near PacifiCorp’s coal-fired Hunter Power Plant. A secondary CO2 source, PacifiCorp’s coal-fired Huntington Power Plant, will also be evaluated. DOE Cost: $1,331,228.
  • Battelle Memorial Institute (Columbus, Ohio) — The Battelle Memorial Institute will undertake three projects (DOE cost: $3,590,512). A commercial-scale Integrated Mid-Continent Carbon Stacked Storage Hub will be developed in Nebraska and Kansas. The project will concentrate on identifying specific stacked storage sites in southwest Nebraska and central Kansas and assessing their potential. Also, a pre-feasibility effort will be conducted for developing an integrated commercial CO2 storage site for deep geologic intervals in the Central Appalachian Basin in the 2025 timeframe. And, an integrated commercial CO2 storage site for deep geologic intervals will be developed in the Northern Michigan Basin. This third project will address the technical, economic, legal, engineering, surface, subsurface, and public acceptance challenges related to implementation of a CO2 storage complex in this region.
  • Electric Power Research Institute (Palo, Alto, California) — The Electric Power Research Institute will conduct an initial assessment of the technical, economic, social, and regulatory/policy challenges and solutions that must be addressed to develop a commercial-scale CO2 storage complex in the southern San Joaquin Valley (SSJV), California. DOE Cost: $969,136.
  • University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, North Dakota) — The University of North Dakota will determine the feasibility of integrating commercial-scale CO2 capture of industrially sourced CO2 emissions from the Nebraska Public Power District’s coal-fired Gerald Gentleman Station with proximal storage and minimal transportation. DOE Cost: $1,244,473.
  • University of Kansas/Kansas Geological Survey (Lawrence, Kansas) — The University of Kansas and the Kansas Geological Survey project, ICKan, will identify and address the major technical and nontechnical challenges of implementing CO2 capture and transport and establishing secure geologic storage for CO2 in Kansas. DOE Cost: $1,186,504.
  • Columbia University (New York, New York) — Columbia University will undertake a project that proposes large-scale permanent storage of CO2 in deep ocean basalt formations to enable mineral carbonation as a safe and publicly acceptable solution for mitigating anthropogenic emissions. DOE Cost: $1,189,534.
  • Louisiana State University and A&M College (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) — Louisiana State University will develop a multidisciplinary team of stakeholders; analyze the feasibility of an integrated CCS project; and conduct a detailed sub-basinal evaluation of the potential for CO2 storage in both depleted oil and gas fields and saline reservoirs in South Louisiana. DOE Cost: $1,052,600.

Storage Complex Feasibility Projects – Phase II

Three projects were selected under Phase II for more than $29 million. These projects will perform the initial characterization of a storage complex identified as having high potential. They will also establish the complex’s feasibility for commercial storage (50+ million metric tons CO2). These selected projects did not require the same pre-feasibility work needed in Phase I projects and demonstrated readiness to move on to the next phase.

The objectives of this phase build upon the pre-feasibility work under CarbonSAFE that focus on one or multiple specific reservoirs within the defined storage complex, and comprise data collection; geologic analysis; identification of contractual and regulatory requirements and plans to satisfy them; subsurface modeling to support geologic characterization, risk assessment, and monitoring; and public outreach.

  • Southern States Energy Board (Norcross, Georgia) — The Southern States Energy Board will establish a commercial-scale CO2 geologic storage complex adjacent to Mississippi Power‘s new Kemper County coal gasification power plant. DOE Cost: $11,220,537.
  • University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, North Dakota) — The University of North Dakota will determine the feasibility of developing a commercial-scale CO2 geologic storage complex in central North Dakota. DOE Cost: $8,787,622.
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, Illinois) — The University of Illinois will establish the feasibility of a commercial-scale CO2 geologic storage complex within the Mt. Simon sandstone formation located in Macon County, Illinois, for industrial-sourced CO2. City Water, Light and Power and the Abbott Power Plant will be evaluated as CO2 sources. DOE Cost: $8,906,264.

The above Phase II projects have been selected from those submitted prior to the closing date of Aug. 23, 2016. However, applications may still be submitted for the second closing date of Dec. 1, 2017. Selections under the second closing date are subject to the availability of funds.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.