NETL-Supported CarbonSAFE Projects Research


By James Craig

29 August 2019

The US Government’s commitment to the large-scale development of CCUS has been recently ramped up with the introduction of the Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise abbreviated to CarbonSAFE. The aim of this initiative, represented by a number of NETL research teams at this year’s CCUS conference in Pittsburgh, is to develop geological storage sites which can reach 50+ million metric tonne (MMT) capacities.These projects are designed to identify potential sites, screen for suitability and characterise.Some baseline monitoring in preparation for full-scale development is planned with anticipated injection by 2026.

There are currently 13 pre-feasibility studies and six feasibility studies spread out across the United States.A good example is the Illinois East sub-basin project centred on the Wabash Valley that straddles the Illinois – Indiana state boundary.This location is within the Illinois Basin which lies beneath these states and includes a thick sequence of sedimentary formations including the Mount Simon Sandstone.This basal formation is known to have good porosity-permeability properties suited to large scale CO2 storage.The project will evaluate this formation which is well to the east of the Illinois Basin Industrial Decatur project which has successfully accomplished over 1 MMT of CO2.A well appraisal is planned on an industrial site near Terre Haute, Indiana.The former Wabash integrated gasification combined cycle plant at this location has been converted to an ammonia production facility and will serve as the primary source of CO2 for the storage complex.

Future CarbonSAFE research involves the potential acquisition, development and more detailed characterisation of storage complexes capable of storing 50+ MMT of CO2.The potentially qualification of storage sites for commercial development may also be included in future research. 

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