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CO2 Utilization and Storage


  1. New evaluation of saline aquifer storage and enhanced oil recovery (EOR):

    Researchers from Shaanxi Provincial Institute for Energy Resources and Chemical Engineering, Northwest University, Yanchang Oil Company, and Sinopec North China Co. (China) and the University of Wyoming Carbon Management Institute, Indiana Geological Survey, and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (United States) continue collaboration on an assessment of aquifer storage and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) potential in the Ordos Basin in China.

    1. The team has assembled the geologic, petro-physical, structural, and stratigraphic frameworks of the Ordos Basin and compared evaluation methodologies for Ordos Basin with the Wyoming and Illinois Basins in the United States.
    2. Shenhua (China) provided detailed sub-surface coding information to LANL to allow accurate modeling of areas in the Ordos Basin. This model will be useful for a number of collaborations, including exploring the potential of enhanced water recovery (EWR) and EOR projects with Yanchang Petroleum and EOR demonstrations with Shenhua.
    3. The tools and concepts developed in this research can be applied to different reservoirs in the U.S. and allows for the analysis of various technology and policy frameworks or improvements in CO2 recovery technology, and impacts on prices and various tax and revenue framework based on forecasted oil prices. (CERC-ACTC Phase 1 and Phase II)

  2. Development of low-cost, low-energy CO2 sorbent:

    University of Wyoming (U.S.) researchers are developing a novel solution for boosting the performance of CO2 capturing amines. This solution has shown early promise for a potentially dramatic drop in CO2 capture cost.

    1. Bench-scale laboratory testing has proven the potential of this sorbent, and is progressing to laboratory-scale testing in CERC-ACTC Phase II.
    2. Due to the feedback from the webinar sessions and the resulting stronger collaboration between industrial partners and researchers, this project’s work plan has been closely guided by its partners. To continue to assess the commercial viability of this technology, the second year’s work plan focuses on conducting life cycle analysis and understanding techniques for sorbent renewal. (CERC-ACTC Phase II)
  3. Design configurations assessed for CO2 utilization with microalgae:

    Researchers in the United States (Duke Energy and University of Kentucky) and China (ENN Group) examined CO2 utilization in algal growth systems using a range of U.S. and Chinese strains and different reactor designs.

    1. In its first phase, researchers developed and demonstrated CO2 utilization technology with microalgae and transformation of algal biomass into a sustainable source of energy or other high-value products.
    2. A mutant algae strain developed by ENN showed a 15% faster growth rate than the corresponding wild type algae. Moreover, the new strain is tolerant of aggressive environments, including high temperatures.
    3. Further assessments are ongoing at Duke Energy’s East Bend power plant.

      The accumulated data has been incorporated in a techno-economic model that will identify potential areas for improvement and economies of scale, and has identified that development of multiple product streams to maximize the utilization of the produced algae is critical to the economic viability of this technology.

    4. Work planned in CERC-ACTC Phase 2 includes a 3-acre demonstration in Zhengzhou and continued development of technology including process optimization for algal utilization. (CERC-ACTC Phase I and Phase II)
  4. Pre-feasibility work on saline aquifers near GreenGen:

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and West Virginia University (WVU) performed a pre-feasibility study on a saline aquifer adjacent to the Bohai Basin near Tianjin, China, using subsurface data supplied by Chinese researchers, and the results are promising.

    1. The purpose of the pre-feasibility study was to clear the way for a feasibility study and enhanced water recovery (EWR) project in conjunction with the CO2 capture system currently being constructed at the GreenGen project site.

      The study led to discussions between U.S. and Chinese researchers on formation pressure management during injection, which will be an important consideration when using saline aquifers for CO2 storage.

    2. There is a high feasibility of useful water production and the ability to actively manage formation pressures. This has multiple positive outcomes, relevant for potential applications in U.S. and China, for reducing risk in saline aquifer storage and in production of low-salinity water that could be utilized for municipal or agricultural use. (CERC-ACTC Phase I)
  5. Membrane fabrication:

    As a means to separate CO2 from post-combustion gases, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (U.S.) fabricated a 100-nm thin CO2-selective layer on commercially attractive support material, using LANL’s Ultrasonic Spray Coating Technique (USCT).

    1. This resulted in the development of a novel polymer/ionic liquid (IL) hybrid-membrane that can achieve high-permeability in a mechanically robust platform. Such hybrid polymer/IL systems benefit from liquid-like CO2 permeability and solubility in the IL, resulting in enhanced perm-selectivity. 
    2. Polymer molecular manipulations were applied to dramatically improve IL additive retention and hybrid membrane permeability. The ultra-thin composite membrane fabrication method is now under continuous development and optimization.
    3. Large scale membrane fabrication appears to be readily achievable. (CERC-ACTC Phase I)