“CLEAN” COAL TESTS MOVE FORWARD
Many consider "clean" coal to be an oxymoron, like military intelligence. It is called "carbon capture and sequestration" but not all the carbon is actually captured (sometimes less than a third) and permanent sequestration is only theoretical. Still, it is a breakthrough technology...if...
Tests on Capturing, Storing Carbon Dioxide Move Forward; Technology plays key role in reducing greenhouse gases worldwide
Cheryl Pellerin, October 30, 2007 (USINFO/Department of State)
Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Moving methodically, if glacially slow -- while actual glaciers melt away. click to enlarge)
- The Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership will begin its first large-scale “clean” coal demonstration projects. Carbon (dioxide) capture and sequestration (storage) (CCS) is thought to have the potential of removing one of the most harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (CO2) from industrial and power plants. The dirty gases are captured and injected into geologic formations.
- The project has been researched in small-scale operations since 1997.
- The agencies announced in October they are ready to move forward and published the results of Phase I.
- Regulations expected to be ready in Summer 2008.
- Operation -- ???
- Other projects around the world have been ongoing since 1996.
- 3 projects in the US and Canada, across 27 states and the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
- Other commercial-scale CO2 capture and storage projects: Sleipner West natural gas field in the North Sea (1996); the Weyburn CO2 Flood Project in southern Saskatchewan, Canada (1997); In Salah gas field in the Algerian desert (2004).
- DOE will spend $197 million. Project partners will spend $121 million.
EPA will write guidelines.
- Captured carbon dioxide will be stored in geologic sandstone/limestone saline aquifers that will neutralize the acidic gases.
- CO2 has been captured and injected into oil wells to “enhance” the oil’s viscosity and allow more to be pumped to the surface for 70 years. Engineers expect the sequestered (stored) CO2 to be held in saline aquifers for “geologic” time spans but science is not yet sure the acidic gas will not leech from the geologic structures into underground water or contaminate soils.
- The projects:
(1) The Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership: geologic CO2 storage in the Alberta and Williston basins. Partners: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin and the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
(2) The Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership: CO2 storage in the lower Tuscaloosa Formation Massive Sand Unit, which stretches from Texas to Florida. Partners are Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and southeast Texas.
(3) The Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration: CO2 injection into the Jurassic-age Entrada Sandstone Formation in the southwestern United States. Partners are New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Utah, and portions of Texas, Wyoming, and Arizona.
click to enlarge
- Robert Kane, technical adviser, DOE Office of Fossil Energy: “EPA is looking to us for our research and development experience, and we’re looking to them for their regulatory experience…When one is based on the other, that makes an awful lot of sense.”
- Jason Burnett, EPA: “We believe the time is right to begin creating the regulatory framework for commercial-scale carbon sequestration technology…Currently, about 35 million tons of CO2 are sequestered in the United States…primarily for enhanced oil recovery. We expect that to increase, by some estimates, by 400-fold by 2100.”
- Kane: “We’ve contributed small amounts of money…so we could participate in [CO2] monitoring at Sleipner, Weyburn and In Salah, and we’ve learned by doing.”