New facility to ‘play critical role’ in commercializing underground CO2 storage

Don Lawton, director of the Containment and Monitoring Institute with CMC. Image: CMC Research Institutes

There’s a new research station near Brooks, Alberta that the CMC Research Institutes and its partners believe provides an “unparalleled opportunity” to advance commercialization of CO2 storage technology.

CMC says that while carbon capture and storage is essential in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deployment is being held back by factors including operating costs and public concerns over long-term storage safety.

The $7 million, 200-acre research station built and be operated by CMC is intended to help overcome these challenges by providing a location to test carbon storage systems as well as better understand the movement of fluids underground through new monitoring technologies.

The facility was developed with an investment by the Government of Canada’s Western Economic Diversification Program, and is supported by the University of Calgary with funds from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. It also has support from companies including Cenovus Energy and Norwegian state oil company Statoil ASA, which the U of C says is collaborating at the site with a Norwegian research organization to develop new methods to monitor CO2 stored underground.

“Even as we make the transition to a global low-carbon economy, carbon-intensive industries will continue to play a role. Work at our Field Research Station will help governments and industry with this challenge by speeding the commercialization of carbon storage technologies. This will in turn strengthen Canada’s position as an exporter of innovative clean technologies,” CMC CEO Sandra Odendahl said in a statement.

Correction: A previous version of this article indicated the field research station is owned by the University of Calgary. It is owned by CMC Research Institutes.