University of Wyoming among federal grant recipients for CO2 storage efforts

— August 7, 2014

(Press release) — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of 13 projects to develop technologies and methodologies for geologic storage of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) research is focused on developing technologies to capture industrially generated CO2, and safely and permanently store it in underground geologic formations, in order to reduce the amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

The projects selected by DOE will develop technologies, methodologies, and characterization tools to improve our ability to predict geologic storage capacity, understand geomechanical processes, and add to the safety of geologic storage.

The total value of the projects is approximately $17.6 million over three years, with $13.8 million of DOE funding and $3.8 million of non-federal cost sharing.

Managed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, the selected projects have been awarded in two areas of interest: “Geomechanical Research” and “Fractured Reservoir and Seal Behavior.”

Geomechanical research

University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo. — The project will study the effects of CO2 storage on geomechanical, petrophysical, and other reservoir properties through rock experiments, analyses of existing data sets, and simulations representing conditions and processes at the Rocks Springs Uplift, Wyoming.  A geomechanical workflow will be developed to predict changes that could affect geomechanical properties and reservoir responses during injection and post injection. (DOE share: $1,091,187; recipient share: $309,068; duration: 36 months)

Clemson University, Clemson, S.C. — This research will evaluate the feasibility of measuring and interpreting, the physical state and properties of rock formations under stress to assess geomechanical processes. Additionally, Clemson researchers will develop and test a removable borehole tool to measure geomechanical properties in wells. (DOE share: $1,244,738; recipient share: $311,185; duration: 36 months)

The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas — The study aims to develop a geomechanical screening tool for reservoirs to assess geomechanical processes and conditions related to CO2 storage including faults, fractures, and caprock flaws.  Geomechanical rock experiments and computational methods using modeling, simulations, history matching, and uncertainty quantification will be conducted for two field demonstration sites to generate and validate a geomechnical screening tool. (DOE share: $1,035,354; recipient share: $258,848; duration: 36 months)

Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Ill. — The project will develop a risk assessment for a simulated industrial-scale CCS injection project at the Big Sky Regional Partnership Phase II, Wallula basalt project site.  This includes a study of pressure-induced fracture expansion, fracture propagation, and the formation of new fractures. (DOE share: $433,497; recipient share: $119,485; duration: 24 months)

Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio — This research will evaluate the stress-strain setting of the midwestern United States using regional geologic and laboratory data. Methodologies will also be developed to evaluate and predict stress at CO2storage sites based on rock cores, geophysical logs, and modeling. (DOE share: $1,171,266; recipient share: $300,000; duration: 36 months)

The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. — The project will study the geophysical and mineralogical controls on fracture failure in induced seismic events. Relationships between permeability changes and the potential for caprock breaching will be investigated. (DOE share: $1,068,962; recipient share: $267,310; duration: 36 months)

Sandia Technologies, LLC, Houston, Texas — The study aims to develop geomechanical characterization methodologies by combining laboratory rock core testing with downhole tools that determine the strength of rock formations. Data from these tests will be used to model the behavior of caprocks encountered in the Newark Basin in New York. (DOE share: $1,386,261; recipient share: $446,661; duration: 26 months)

Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont. — Researchers will study the geomechanical conditions at the Big Sky Regional Partnership Phase III Kevin Dome large-scale field project to develop and validate an integrated monitoring approach using data from satellites and microseismic monitoring. Numerical modeling will be used to study the interactions between large-scale geologic carbon storage activities and the subsurface geomechanical state. (DOE share: $1,000,000; recipient share: $250,000; duration: 36 months)

Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo. — The study will use laboratory rock analysis and models to develop an approach to understand and predict geomechanical effects from large-scale CO2 injections. Researchers will use the results to develop tools to assess and validate CO2 flow, storage potential, and the risk of leakage in rock formations. (DOE share: $1,199,408; recipient share: $312,112; duration: 36 months).

Fractured reservoir and seal behavior

Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. — The project will develop new modeling capabilities for simulation of CO2 and brine migration in fractured reservoirs.  Flow interactions between fractures and rock composition will be investigated to model and better predict the CO2 distribution within a storage reservoir. (DOE share: $800,000; recipient share: $200,000; duration: 36 months)

Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo. — Researchers will develop tools to identify damaged shale caprock along with a method to determine CO2 migration through the caprock. Acoustic methods will be used for detecting damaged CO2-saturated caprock through laboratory and in-place experimental studies of shale. (DOE share: $1,411,278; recipient share: $450,000; duration: 24 months)

Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. — The project will advance the understanding of fractured basalt reservoirs and the impact basalt structure and chemistry has on flow and mineral trapping of injected CO2. The project will perform laboratory experiments on rock cores, and integrate geomechanical and geochemical data to understand fracture structure and changes of carbon-trapping mechanisms over time. (DOE share: $996,951; recipient share: $287,750; duration: 36 months)

The University of Texas at Austin Austin, Texas — The study aims to develop and validate geomechanical models based on chemical-mechanical interactions to evaluate fracture growth at the reservoir-caprock interface.  Researchers will develop predictive models for top-seal failure via fracture growth by calibrating field observations with experimental rock fracture data under chemically reactive conditions representative of CO2 storage reservoirs. (DOE share: $991,417; recipient share: $250,154; duration: 36 months)

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