Integrated Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) has tremendous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired plants, gas processing operations and cement and steel industries where large amounts of carbon dioxide are emitted. While the individual components behind geologic storage of carbon dioxide are well developed, significant challenges exist in scaling CCS technologies to the level needed to address emissions from a coal-burning power plant. Before moving to large-scale commercial use, CCS technologies need to be tested and validated to ensure they are safe, effective and viable under real-world conditions.
Battelle is helping the U.S. Department of Energy and utilities like American Electric Power (AEP) answer questions about storage capacity, retention, safety and monitoring technologies needed for commercial-scale deployment. Using funding from U.S. Department of Energy, AEP, the state of Ohio and other sources, in 2003 Battelle began developing the foundations for the pilot test at AEP’s Mountaineer Power Plant in New Haven, WV, to learn about the geology of the area and determine whether carbon dioxide could be stored deep underground. This work was fundamental to AEP’s 2007 plan to deploy a 20-megawatt pilot-scale CCS system, with Battelle as the lead contractor for geologic storage site development.
Operational in 2009, the Mountaineer CCS Product Validation Facility marked the first time that capture, transport, injection, storage and monitoring were put together for a coal-fired plant. The geologic storage system at the site consists of two injection wells and three deep monitoring wells. The monitoring program included cross-well seismic monitoring, geophysical logging and in-situ pressure monitoring, as well as shallow groundwater monitoring and soil-gas monitoring. We conducted a series of injection tests using one or both wells to evaluate the geologic behavior of Copper Ridge and Rose Run storage reservoirs. The evaluation of pressure data from injection and monitoring wells allowed us to assess the permeability and continuity of the storage zones. Reservoir simulations developed using the well logs and core analysis were also calibrated to field observed pressure response.
Our work advanced the industry’s understanding of the geology and storage potential along the Ohio River Valley corridor, which has one of the nation’s largest concentrations of coal-fired power plants. Also noteworthy was Battelle’s exemplary safety record above industry standard, with more than 200,000 person hours of safe drilling, well workovers and injection operations in a power plant setting. This test also provided an opportunity to engage with stakeholders unfamiliar with the technology, laying the foundation for public acceptance for future commercial applications.