Characterization of America’s “Engine Room” for Geologic CO2 Sequestration
Venteris, Erik R.1, McDonald, James1, Solis, Michael P.2, Barnes, David A.3, Carter, Kristen4, Lockhart, Catherine5, Radhakrishnan, Premkrishnan6, and Avary, Katharine Lee7
1Ohio Division of Geological Survey, Columbus, OH
2Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
3Department of Geosciences, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
4Pennsylvania Geological Survey, Pittsburgh, PA
5Maryland Geological Survey, Baltimore, MD
6Indiana Geological Survey, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
7West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, Morgantown, WV
Reducing greenhouse gases, while meeting the growing demand for fossil-fuel-generated energy, is dependent on rapid development of carbon-sequestration technologies. The Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) has been created to assess the technical, economic, and social merits of carbon sequestration. The MRCSP (one of seven regional centers formed under U.S. Department of Energy funding) brings together academic, industrial, and governmental partners from Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The MRCSP provides a unique and important opportunity for the development of carbon- sequestration technologies, in consideration that member states are a major source of CO2 emissions and have enormous geologic assets for mitigation. This economically critical area represents 16% of the U.S. population and GNP and nearly 22% of the nation’s electricity generation. The large industrial and power-generating point sources in the region produce about 715 million tons of CO2 annually. 77% of electricity in the region is produced from coal-fired plants. Technologies are rapidly being developed to capture flue gas from coal-burning power plants and to extract/compress CO2 emissions into an injectable liquid.
The region’s diverse geology provides myriad opportunities for utilization or storage of CO2. The region includes 3 major sedimentary basins, intervening arches, a coastal plain, and a fold-and-thrust belt. Such a range in depositional environments provides many sequestration opportunities. Huge potential exists for sequestering CO2 in deep saline aquifers, deep unmineable coals and organic shales, and depleted oil-and-gas reservoirs. The MRCSP is producing regional geologic and petrophysical maps to support planning efforts and capacity calculations for the various sequestration technologies.