Battelle carbon sequestration experts collaborated with American Electric Power (AEP) to complete the world’s first fully integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) test at a coal-fired power plant, an important milestone in the path towards developing a commercial CCS industry needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The collaboration that grew over the last several years has led to many geologic, engineering, field implementation, and regulatory firsts, with regional and global impact for CCS technology development.
Battelle began developing the foundations for the carbon dioxide (CO2) storage project at AEP’s Mountaineer Power Plant in New Haven, W.Va. in 2003 and used funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), AEP, the state of Ohio and other sources to learn about the geology of the area and determine whether CO2 could be stored there. This work was fundamental to AEP’s 2007 decision to deploy a 20-megawatt pilot-scale capture and storage system at Mountaineer, with Battelle as the lead contractor for geologic storage site development. Operational in 2009, the Mountaineer project marked the first time that capture, transport, injection, storage and monitoring were put together for a coal-fired power plant.
Many geoscientists and engineers from Battelle led the injection, geologic storage, and monitoring efforts at the Mountaineer plant. 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.
Battelle’s proven carbon storage approach was a key component in AEP’s successful proposal for a 235-MW scale-up under the DOE’s Clean Coal Power Initiative program. Subsequently, Battelle was selected by AEP as the lead geologic storage contractor after a competitive selection process for the project definition phase involving geologic characterization, conceptual system design and cost assessment. As a part of this effort, Battelle drilled a new characterization well two miles from the plant to confirm the continuity of storage horizons. In addition to the progress made understanding the geology and storage potential, many of the methodologies and analytical tools that were adapted for this project are expected to be useful for other ongoing programs that are focused on developing this important technology.
The Ohio Valley region of the Appalachian Basin is one of the world’s largest concentrations of coal-fired power plants. The use of local and regional vendors in executing the work infused more than $40 million into the economy of the Appalachian Basin, helped many small businesses, and served to expand scientific and technological expertise in this emerging field of technology in Ohio and surrounding states.