Battelle Senior Research Leader and Institute Fellow Neeraj Gupta likes to go with the flow—the subsurface flow, that is. Over the last two decades, he has built his career around subsurface geology, hydrogeology and hydrodynamics. He is now one of the world’s leading authorities on deep geological carbon capture and storage (CCS).
He developed his fascination with fluids flowing beneath the earth as a graduate student at George Washington University and PhD candidate at The Ohio State University. “Geology is like detective work,” he says. “You get to use a lot of deductive reasoning and put together clues to get to the bottom of geological puzzles.” His graduate research focused on simulating and modeling the flow of saline waters in deep formations across the Midwestern US. As interest in carbon management grew in the 90s, he was approached by the U.S. Department of Energy to apply these same modeling techniques to the nascent carbon capture and storage industry.
The work Dr. Gupta and his team are doing has important implications for the oil & gas industry and for the environment. Using CO2 for enhanced oil recovery can be an option to reduce CO2 emissions, especially when compared to primary oil production without CO2. Because of the link between carbon emissions and climate change, the EPA has made carbon management a priority for the energy sector. “Carbon capture and storage has to be part of the carbon management portfolio for electric power generation,” Dr. Gupta explains. “When CO2 injection occurs in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, additional oil production provides another significant benefit. This is something we can do now. The cost of mitigating climate change without CCS would be much higher. If we can show that CCS is a viable option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global basis, we will accomplish a tremendous win for both coal and oil & gas industries.”
Dr. Gupta joined Battelle as a Research Scientist in 1993 and has risen to be a Senior Research Leader and Institute Fellow, a nominated position equivalent to a Battelle Fellow, held by only 10 Battelle staff. His work on environmental technology services includes fate and transport of contaminants, evaluation of remediation technologies and risk assessment projects for the Air Force, Navy, EPA, DOE and private and international clients. Past projects include evaluation of subsurface permeable reactive barriers and assessment of remediation technologies at Cape Canaveral. He now provides technical and program development leadership for Battelle’s carbon management and subsurface exploration work. He is a leading authority on integrated projects for CO2 storage and utilization including characterization and exploration of deep geologic reservoirs and caprocks, monitoring and regulatory issues.
Dr. Gupta has played a leadership role in the formation and successful execution of several public-private joint projects, including CO2 storage at the AEP Mountaineer Plant and the Midwestern Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP). The MRCSP (www.mrcsp.org) is one of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships formed by the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). Led by Battelle, this multi-year research program was established to identify, test and further develop the best approaches to CO2 utilization and storage in a nine-state region in the Midwest and Northeast U.S. Dr. Gupta and his team are currently conducting a 1 million ton scale test of CO2 injection, monitoring and modeling in depleted oil fields in northern Michigan.
In addition to his work on integrated field projects, Dr. Gupta has continued to advance the science of CO2 storage and utilization with a focus on long-term viability and commercialization. He is currently working on similar projects in China and Mexico funded by the World Bank. He is also leading Battelle’s efforts on the Mid-Atlantic U.S. Offshore Carbon Storage Resource Assessment Project. The project will assess the potential for carbon sequestration in deep geologic formations in the offshore regions on the U.S. East Coast.
Dr. Gupta holds a BS and MS in Geology from Panjab University, an MS in Geochemistry from George Washington University, and a PhD in Geological Science from The Ohio State University. He also received a Management Certification from the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State and completed the Battelle Strategic Leadership program. He has co-authored more than 150 reports, papers and presentations and is an active participant in several CCS related conferences.