Thursday, July 23, 2015

New Grants Fund Research for Underseas Carbon Storage

The world's first undersea carbon storage project is off the coast of Norway. (Credit: Stanford University/Statoil) Click to Enlarge.
As scientists seek ways to control greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change, the federal government is on a mission to prove whether rock formations deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean can be used to store and lock away human carbon dioxide emissions.

The U.S. Department of Energy, which has been researching carbon dioxide storage for years, announced $12 million in new research grants this month to learn the potential of the Atlantic sea floor to sequester carbon along the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast.

Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, is among the technologies both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the federal government see as one of the best solutions to control greenhouse gas emissions without forcing utilities to fully quit using fossil fuels.

Generally speaking, carbon storage works like this:  carbon dioxide is captured from a power plant or oil refinery, compressed and then injected into air-tight rock formations deep underground.  Outside of small projects at fossil fuel refineries and power plants — the world’s first carbon capture project at a coal-fired power plant opened last year in Canada — CCS has never been implemented on a wide scale.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory’s carbon storage program is aiming to change that and has a goal to launch commercial undersea CCS projects between 2025 and 2035.

The four CCS research projects receiving federal funding this month will take another step toward that goal, exploring whether offshore carbon storage is feasible in both the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
Storing carbon dioxide emissions beneath the Gulf of Mexico has several advantages: It’s close to Gulf Coast coal-fired power plants and oil refineries, the geology of the Gulf has been thoroughly studied because of the extensive oil and gas development that has occurred there, and some of the oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure existing there could be used to transport carbon emissions.

Read more at New Grants Fund Research for Underseas Carbon Storage

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