Thursday, May 3, 2012

Map Of Potential Carbon Dioxide Storage Sites In U.S. Sedimentary Basins

via Nobel Intent:



Potential carbon dioxide sequestration sites are shown in blue.

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a climate change mitigation measure. Carbon dioxide emitted by power plants is compressed into a supercritical fluid and injected in deep saline aquifers with an impermeable geological capping layer that prevents the liquid CO2 from escaping.

Does U.S. sedimentary basins have enough storage capacity to make a difference in emissions? From the abstract published in PNAS:

We show that in the United States, if CO2 production from power generation continues to rise at recent rates, then CCS can store enough CO2 to stabilize emissions at current levels for at least 100 y.  This result suggests that the large-scale implementation of CCS is a geologically viable climate-change mitigation option in the United States over the next century.

Will it be economically viable though? There seems to be no hurry in the climate change policy environment in making CO2 emissions expensive enough for companies to turn to CCS.

4 comments:

  1. But aren't all these sites places that have been hydrofrac'ed in the process of getting the resources out? It seems likely that these will be pretty leaky. Wouldn't it be better to pump it into something reactive like basalt or serpentinite that will precipitate carbonates?

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  2. Anon- the article i have linked makes the same point that the potential of this technique will be diminished in areas where there are shale gas resources..

    yes, i think as a stable storage, both basalt and serpentinites are being considered as possible host rock materials..but are these host rocks as widely distributed as deep saline aquifers?..basalts especially tend to be concentrated in provinces.. and sepentinite terrains are narrow and usually highly fractured and faulted, plus the economics of transporting and drilling into these hard rocks might influence the widespread use of these hosts..

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  3. Won't this kind of large scale injection cause seismic activities? Secondly, some of the oxides may become carbonates and change density etc. Will that not lead to unpredictable consequences? Or am I being too 'laymanish'?

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  4. L- not laymanish at all :) ..there is a small risk of seismic activity.. but with proper care in terms of selection of the formation the risk can be minimized ..here is a good summary

    regarding carbon sequestration, the idea is to use host rocks with open porosity, the carbonates will precipitate in the pore spaces and fractures. the rock matrix as such will not undergo substantive density changes.

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