Major Grant In Socorro

Socorro, NM – The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop technologies aimed at safely and economically storing carbon dioxide in geologic formations.

In an announcement made today by Energy Secretary Steven Chu DOE is awarding a total of 15 projects up to $21.3 million over three years to help develop the technology and infrastructure to implement large-scale CO2 storage in different geologic formations across the Nation. The projects selected today will support the goals of helping reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, developing and deploying near-zero-emission coal technologies and making the U.S. a leader in mitigating climate change.

"The projects announced today are part of this Administration's commitment to leading the world in carbon capture and storage technology," said Secretary Chu. "These projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop clean energy innovation and help produce jobs for Americans across the Nation."

The New Mexico based project selected for award today:

* New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (Socorro, N.M.) Researchers will assess caprock/reservoir interfaces of proposed CO2 injection sites. Investigations will focus on depositional, structural, and diagenetic characteristics. Specific topics to be addressed include how physical properties of sand/mudstone interfaces influence CO2 storage and transport, how geochemical perturbations induced by CO2 emplacement influence leakage across the interface, how interface properties affect brine migration into caprock, and how fractures at the interface respond to injection induced fluid pressure.

(DOE share: $399,479; Recipient share: $100,043; Duration: 36 months)

Geologic storage is currently focused on five types of formations: (1) depleted oil and gas reservoirs, (2) deep saline formations, (3) unmineable coal seams, (4) oil- and gas-rich organic shales, and (5) basalts. Carbon storage in depleted oil and gas reservoirs can also increase oil or gas production, while storage of CO2 in deep saline formations holds the promise of enormous worldwide capacity, with estimates of thousands of gigatonnes of storage.

Efforts are underway to demonstrate safety and permanence of geologic sequestration through initiatives such as the Department of Energy's Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships. The 15 selected projects will complement ongoing efforts by developing and testing technologies that address critical challenges for geologic storage including injectivity of CO2 into the reservoir, storage capacity, plume migration, and containment by caprock and other trapping mechanisms.