The United States took another step towards a major goal of its environmental policy – reducing the amount of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the selection of 15 projects to develop technologies to safely and economically store carbon dioxide in geologic formations.
Funded with $21.3 million over 3 years, the selections will complement existing Department of Energy initiatives to help develop the technology and infrastructure to implement large-scale carbon dioxide storage in different geological formations across the United States.
Secretary Chu said the projects are part of this Administration's commitment to leading the world in carbon capture and storage technology. "These projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop clean energy innovation and help produce jobs for Americans across the nation," he said.
Efforts are underway to demonstrate safety and permanence of geologic sequestration through initiatives such as the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships. The 15 selected projects will complement ongoing efforts by developing and testing technologies that address critical challenges for geologic storage including determining the rate and pressure at which carbon dioxide can be pumped into the reservoir, storage capacity, plume migration, and containment by caprock and trapping mechanisms.
Geologic storage is currently focused on 5 types of formations. These are: depleted oil and gas reservoirs; deep saline formations; un-mineable coal seems; oil- and gas-rich organic shales; and basalts. Carbon storage in depleted oil and gas reservoirs can also increase oil or gas production, while storage of carbon dioxide in deep saline formations holds the promise of enormous worldwide capacity, with estimates of billions of tons of storage capacity available.
Scientists believe that geologic formations can potentially store carbon dioxide for more than 1,100 years. Together, the world community must continue its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a top global priority.