Ten years ago, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) set a goal to activate a scientific demonstration of injecting a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the rock deep below the earth’s surface.
Now, a Battelle-led team known as Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) reports it has successfully stored one million metric tonnes of CO2 as part of its large-scale demonstration project.
The MRCSP demonstration is one of eight such DOE projects helping to develop and deploy carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).
Battelle began the third phase of injection in 2013 and, in conjunction with Core Energy LLC, is monitoring, verifying and accounting for the CO2 being used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the depleted oil fields of Michigan’s Northern Reef Trend.
The practice of using carbon dioxide to recover oil uses a closed-loop process to access the fossil fuel that would otherwise be left behind, maximizing existing oil fields. One million cumulative tonnes of CO2 stored is equivalent to removing 214,000 passenger vehicles for one year, or the amount stored by 1.2 million acres of forest in one year.
As a result of this CO2 injection, more than $70 million dollars of economic benefit has been added to the local economy in jobs, goods and services, and taxes, based on the significant volume of oil that has been produced—oil that would otherwise have been left behind, according to Battelle.
Additionally, there has been significant scientific knowledge gained. The project developed novel approaches for using CO2 in fields that were in different stages of their production lifecycles, from initial flooding to late-stage. The MRCSP tested state-of-the-art techniques to track the CO2 and quantify the amount that is retained in the formation after the oil is removed.
These data can be used to further optimize CO2 storage and energy production in other areas, the company said. MRCSP will continue to collect field operational data and deploy advanced monitoring technologies to characterize and simulate the CO2 storage, retention and enhanced oil recovery processes across the test locations.
“This public-private partnership has allowed us to apply cutting edge science in practical real-world settings. This project is one of several that demonstrates that CCUS can be done safely, cost-effectively and for the larger societal benefit,” Neeraj Gupta, principal investigator for the MRCSP, said in a statement.
The MRCSP is one of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships in the United States established by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).