Indiana University is receiving a $400,000 as part of a large scale effort of the Obama administration to reduce the CO2 waste products from natural gas extraction. US Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Dr. James Markowsky announced yesterday, the money will be used to study CO2 plume migration in the North Sea.
The project is part of an ongoing Department of Energy program to study the capture, transport, and geo-storage of carbon dioxide. The Obama administration is committing $15.8 million to 15 different institutions to develop carbon capture and geological storage technology.
The storage of excess CO2 can be pressurized and placed underground in depleted oil and gas reserves, and in organic shale. Markowsky estimates that there is storage capacity for “1000s of giga-tons” of CO2 one to two miles below the earth’s surface in various sites, including many in the United States.
For one particular project, researchers will explore the possibility of storing the CO2 in eastern shale near the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia.
The project in the North Sea will develop a reservoir-scale model for CO2 plume migration. The model will then be extrapolated to a regional-scale model to predict the location and behavior of the CO2 up to 10,000 years after it was injected into the reservoir.
The CO2 being injected into the earth is not pulled from the atmosphere, but is extracted from natural gas before the gas is refined for consumer use. Markowsky estimates that the first extraction of CO2 from power plant waste emissions will begin in about 4 years.
The site IU is receiving the grant for in the North Sea has been capturing and injecting CO2 since the mid 90’s, and is operated by Norwegian energy company, Statoil.