Plans for a commercial-scale geological carbon dioxide storage complex near Gillette have taken a major step forward with its selection for a $15.2 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.
The University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources, Basin Electric Power Cooperative and other partners are working to develop a site near Basin Electric’s 385-megawatt Dry Fork Station and the Wyoming Integrated Test Center to store over 50 million metric tons of CO2 underground.
The three-year, $19.1 million project is the third phase under the Department of Energy’s Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise, or “CarbonSAFE,” initiative; which seeks to help mitigate CO2 emissions from consumption of fossil fuels.
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“No CO2 will be injected during this stage,” a UW statement said this week. “The Dry Fork Station project and others selected by the agency aim to develop integrated carbon capture and storage complexes that are constructed and permitted for operation between 2025 and 2030.”
Over the next three years, the university says that project partners intend to conduct surface and subsurface testing, data assessment and modeling; prepare and file permits for construction with Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality; integrate the project with a separately funded CO2 capture study by Membrane Technology and Research Inc.; and conduct the required National Environmental Policy Act analyses in support of eventual commercialization of the site.
“We have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of safely, permanently and economically storing CO2 in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, the largest coal-producing region in the nation,” says Scott Quillinan, the project manager and SER’s director of research. “Now, we’re moving forward with final testing to confirm our findings — and the pursuit of necessary state and federal permits to move to the final stage, which is commercialization and construction.”
Joining SER’s Center for Economic Geology Research, Basin Electric and MTR as partners in the project are the Energy and Environmental Research Center; Advanced Resources International Inc.; Carbon GeoCycle Inc.; Denbury Resources Inc.; Los Alamos National Laboratory; and Schlumberger. Other UW participants are the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, the College of Business and the College of Law.
In addition to the $15.2 million in federal funding, Basin Electric is contributing $1.5 million, and UW’s cost-sharing contribution is $2.4 million.
The Powder River Basin produces about 40 percent of all coal consumed in the United States, and it also is home to existing CO2 pipelines for oil and gas operations, including fields suitable for use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.
“The award of the Phase 3 CarbonSAFE project is a tremendous milestone that further demonstrates Wyoming’s commitment to innovative carbon management,” SER Executive Director Holly Krutka says. “This award is based on years of dedication by faculty, staff, stakeholders around the state and project partners. I thank all involved for their commitment to date, and I look forward to this group continuing to demonstrate excellence for years to come.”
Joining Quillinan as co-principal investigators for SER are Kipp Coddington, director of energy economics and policy, and Fred McLaughlin, senior research scientist.