WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced nearly $4 million for four research and development projects to design new methods to identify and reduce the risk of seismic disruptions and CO2 leakage in underground carbon dioxide storage facilities. Advancements in geologic sequestration of CO2 will help scale up carbon capture efforts, prevent contamination of U.S. groundwater supply, and draw the country closer to the ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Large scale carbon capture efforts are vital to getting America emissions free by 2050, and how we store this CO2 must be safe, secure and permanent,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The R&D investments in new tools and technology to monitor underground activity near CO2 storage sites will help us minimize risk from natural events like earthquakes, safeguard the environment and water supply, and get us that much closer to our clean energy goals.”
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the separation and capture of CO2 from the emissions of industrial processes prior to release into the atmosphere and the injection of CO2 in deep underground geologic formations, like caprock. In moments of natural seismic activity, such as volcanos and earthquakes, fissures can be created in caprock storage facilities allowing CO2 to leak through the ground to nearby groundwater sources.
The four selected projects below will begin to solve challenges related to long-term, commercial-scale storage of CO2. The projects will work to improve the tools to monitor the seal integrity of caprocks – hard layers of rock beneath the surface that cannot transmit gas – used in carbon storage complexes, and develop methods to predict seismicity magnitudes and potential hazard of leakage during the CO2 storage process.
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