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US DOE finances water from CO2 projects

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the selection of two projects that will test emerging enhanced water recovery (EWR) technologies for their potential to produce useable water from carbon dioxide (CO2) storage sites. The two projects were competitively selected from the five brine extraction storage test (BEST) projects awarded in September 2015.

The purpose of BEST field projects are to develop and validate engineering strategies and approaches for managing formation pressure, as well as plume movement in the subsurface, through brine extraction. The field projects will also help to find cost effective ways to treat extracted brines in order to generate a usable water supply and support DOE’s objectives to improve water management and conservation for power generation, hydrocarbon production, and industrial processes; particularly in regions where water resources are scarce.

The initial five BEST projects, which were provided an initial US$7 million in funding in September, have been working to develop engineering strategies and approaches for managing reservoir pressure and the flow of stored CO2 in saline reservoirs. The two projects selected will receive a total of US$31 million in funding from the Department to implement their field plan to validate their proposed approaches. Of the total funding US$5 - 6 million will be used to test EWR technologies.

The BEST projects support the clean energy and climate goals announced by President Obama and President Xi in November 2014 and September 2015, which included two provisions on carbon capture sequestration (CCS), including a new, commercial scale CCS project in China and collaboration on CO2-EWR. Under the US - China Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), the two countries have already completed a pre-feasibility study for a pilot project in Tianjin that will use CO2 captured from the GreenGen facility – China’s first integrated gasification combined cycle plant.

The two projects set to receive the funding announced will be managed by the Department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Carbon Storage Programme:

  • Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. and its partners will demonstrate an adaptive management strategy of subsurface pressure, fluid movement, and differential pressure plume behaviour using existing wastewater disposal wells and new wells at Plant Smith near Panama City, Florida, operated by Gulf Power Company. For the pressure management plan developed for the site, wastewater injection and brine extraction will be conducted into/from the Lower Tuscaloosa Massive sand, a regionally extensive CO2 storage reservoir in the southeast US with significant storage capacity. The novel management strategy designed for this project combines ‘active’ water extraction from one well with ‘passive’ pressure relief using another well, using an adaptive process. Plans are also to construct a user EWR facility for treating brine extracted from the Tuscaloosa. Once treated, the clean water could be re-used for beneficial purposes, including supplemental cooling water at a power station. The water treatment facility will allow project participants to test and validate novel water desalination technologies.

  • DOE: US$15 483 535, Non-DOE: US$5 624 000, Total funding: US$21 107 535 (26.6% cost share)

  • The University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Centre and its partners will evaluate active reservoir management (ARM) approaches developed during Phase I for managing formation pressure, predicting and monitoring differential pressure plume movement, and validating pressure and brine plume model predictions at an operating commercial saltwater disposal facility located near Watford City, North Dakota. The project will use engineered brine injection and extraction tests, monitoring and verification practices, and iterative simulation modelling to evaluate and understand the effect of various ARM strategies. The project will also implement and operate a test bed EWR facility for the evaluation of selected brine treatment technologies.

  • DOE: US$15 680 505, Non-DOE: US$4 220 560, Total funding: US$19 901 065 (21.2% cost share).

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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