Case Study

Bringing Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) to Commercial Scale through the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP)

Learn how Battelle enabled the safe capture or utilization of 2+ million metric tons of CO2.

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Challenge

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large point sources such as power plants, refineries, steel mills, cement plants and mines. In the Midwest region alone, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from these large point sources have ranged from 500 – 800 million tons annually since 2005, with more than 70% coming from fossil-fired power plants. Capturing emissions from these point sources and storing carbon safely in deep geologic formations or utilizing it for other purposes could significantly improve the sustainability of existing energy infrastructure and manufacturing facilities. However, there are substantial technical challenges and barriers to implementing CCUS at the commercial scales necessary to make a difference in regional carbon emissions. The Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) was formed in 2003 to address these challenges and determine the feasibility of bringing CCUS to scale in the Midwest region.

 

The Solution

Battelle led the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) from 2003 – 2021. The MRCSP was a unique public-private collaboration of nearly 40 government, industry and university partners who joined together to assess the technical potential, economic viability and public acceptability of CCUS for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Battelle led the program through three phases of research and development.

  • Phase I (Characterization, 2003 – 2005) identified sources of CO2 emissions in the region, assessed the storage potential of deep geologic reservoirs and identified locations for the first demonstration projects.
  • Phase II (Validation, 2005 – 2010) took the work further through a series of three pilot-scale field validation tests to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of geologic sequestration.
  • Phase III (Development, 2008 – 2019) focused on large-scale deployment of CCUS technologies in preparation for commercialization.
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The Outcome

Over the course of the nearly 20-year program, more than 2 million metric tons of CO2 were safely captured and stored or utilized for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). In Phase III, more than 1.3 million tons of CO2 were injected into oil fields in the Michigan Basin for geologic sequestration and EOR. CO2 for the project was sourced from gas processing plants used in production of natural gas from the nearby Antrim Shale fields. Overall, in this phase of the project:

  • More than 1.6 million metric tons of carbon were safely stored in deep geologic formations – the equivalent of removing nearly 350,000 gas-fueled passenger cars from the road.
  • 1.1 million barrels of oil were produced through EOR

The MRCSP project demonstrated that CCUS is technically and economically feasible in the Midwest region. Characterization work during Phase I determined that geologic formations within the ten-state region covered by the MRCSP have combined storage potential exceeding 500 gigatons, enough to sequester all of the CO2 emissions from large point sources in the region for hundreds of years. Over the course of the program, Battelle advanced the methods and technologies that will be needed to bring CCUS to scale in the Midwest and beyond. This includes:

  • Analysis of regional point-source emissions and geologic storage potential.
  • Modeling and characterization of deep geologic reservoirs suitable for injection and storage.
  • Injection operations and wellbore monitoring.

In 2021, Battelle and the Illinois Geologic Survey were selected to lead the Midwest Regional Carbon Initiative (MRCI), which carries the work of the MRCSP forward across a 20-state region in the Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. The final results of the MRCSP program are available to the public through the MRCSP Research Library.

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