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  • richardmitnick 9:08 am on October 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carbon Sequestration,   

    From AAAS: “Storing greenhouse gas underground—for a million years” 



    14 October 2014
    Jia You

    When Canada switched on its Boundary Dam power plant earlier this month, it signaled a new front in the war against climate change. The commercial turbine burns coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, but it traps nearly all the resulting carbon dioxide underground before it reaches the atmosphere. Part of this greenhouse gas is pumped into porous, water-bearing underground rock layers. Now, a new study provides the first field evidence that CO2 can be stored safely for a million years in these saline aquifers, assuaging worries that the gas might escape back into the atmosphere.

    Geologist Martin Cassidy, who co-authored the new study, samples a gas well at Bravo Dome, the world’s largest natural CO2 reservoir.

    “It’s a very comprehensive piece of work,” says geochemist Stuart Gilfillan of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the study. “The approach is very novel.”

    There have been several attempts to capture the carbon dioxide released by the world’s 7000-plus coal-fired plants. Pilot projects in Algeria, Japan, and Norway indicate that CO2 can be stored in underground geologic formations such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs, deep coal seams, and saline aquifers. In the United States, saline aquifers are believed to have the largest capacity for CO2 storage, with potential sites spread out across the country, and several in western states such as Colorado also host large coal power plants. CO2 pumped into these formations are sealed under impermeable cap rocks, where it gradually dissolves into the salty water and mineralizes. Some researchers suggest the aquifers have enough capacity to store a century’s worth of emissions from America’s coal-fired plants, but others worry the gas can leak back into the air through fractures too small to detect.

    To resolve the dilemma, geoscientists need to know how long it takes for the trapped CO2 to dissolve. The faster the CO2 dissolves and mineralizes, the less risk that it would leak back into the atmosphere. But determining the rate of dissolution is no easy feat. Lab simulations suggest that the sealed gas could completely dissolve over 10,000 years, a process too slow to be tested empirically.

    So computational geoscientist Marc Hesse of the University of Texas, Austin, and colleagues turned to a natural lab: the Bravo Dome gas field in New Mexico, one of the world’s largest natural CO2 reservoirs. Ancient volcanic activities there have pumped the gas into a saline aquifer 700 meters underground. Since the 1980s, oil companies have drilled hundreds of wells there to extract the gas for enhanced oil recovery, leaving a wealth of data on the site’s geology and CO2 storage.

    To find out how fast CO2 dissolves in the aquifers, the researchers needed to know two things: the total amount of gas dissolved at the reservoir and how long it has been there. Because the gas is volcanic in origin, the researchers reasoned that it must have arrived at Bravo Dome steaming hot—enough to warm up the surrounding rocks. So they examined the buildup of radiogenic elements in the mineral apatite. These elements accumulate at low temperatures, but are released if the mineral is heated above 75°C, allowing the researchers to determine when the mineral was last heated above such a high temperature. The team estimated that the CO2 was pumped into the reservoir about 1.2 million years ago.

    Then the scientists calculated the amount of gas dissolved over the millennia, using the helium-3 isotope as a tracer. Like CO2, helium-3 is released during volcanic eruptions, and it is rather insoluble in saline water. By studying how the ratio of helium-3 to CO2 changes across the reservoir, the researchers found that out of the 1.6 gigatons of gas trapped underground at the reservoir, only a fifth has dissolved over 1.2 million years. That’s the equivalent of 75 years of emissions from a single 500-megawatt coal power plant, they report online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    More intriguingly, the analysis also provided the first field evidence of how CO2 dissolves after it is pumped into the aquifers. In theory, the CO2 dissolves through diffusion, which takes place when the gas comes into contact with the water surface. But the process could move faster if convection—in which water saturated with CO2 sinks and fresh water flows into its place to absorb more gas—were also at work. Analysis revealed that at Bravo Dome, 10% of the total gas at the reservoir dissolved after the initial emplacement. Diffusion alone cannot account for that amount, the researchers argue, as the gas accumulating at the top of the reservoir would have quickly saturated still water. Instead, convection most likely occurred.

    Hesse says constraints on convection might explain why CO2 dissolves much more slowly in saline aquifers at Bravo Dome than previously estimated, at a rate of 0.1 gram per square meter per year. The culprit would be the relatively impermeable Brava Dome rocks, which limit water flow and thus the rate of convective CO2 dissolution. At storage sites with more porous rocks, the gas could dissolve much faster and mineralize earlier, he says.

    Even so, the fact that CO2 stayed locked up underground for so long at Bravo Dome despite ongoing industrial drilling should allay concerns about potential leakage, Hesse says. Carbon capture and storage “can work, if you do it in the right place,” he says. “[This is] an enormous amount of CO2 that has sat there, for all we can tell, very peacefully for more than a million years.”

    See the full article here.

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

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  • richardmitnick 4:27 pm on November 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Carbon Sequestration, ,   

    From Berkeley Lab: “An Inside Look at a MOF in Action” 

    Berkeley Lab

    Berkeley Lab Researchers Probe Into Electronic Structure of MOF May Lead to Improved Capturing of Greenhouse Gases

    November 22, 2013
    Lynn Yarris (510) 486-5375 lcyarris@lbl.gov

    A unique inside look at the electronic structure of a highly touted metal-organic framework (MOF) as it is adsorbing carbon dioxide gas should help in the design of new and improved MOFs for carbon capture and storage. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have recorded the first in situ electronic structure observations of the adsorption of carbon dioxide inside Mg-MOF-74, an open metal site MOF that has emerged as one of the most promising strategies for capturing and storing greenhouse gases.

    Working at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), a team led by Jeff Kortright of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, used the X-ray spectroscopy technique known as Near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (NEXAFS) to obtain what are believed to be the first ever measurements of chemical and electronic signatures inside of a MOF during gas adsorption.

    “We’ve demonstrated that NEXAFS spectroscopy is an effective tool for the study of MOFs and gas adsorption,” Kortright says. “Our study shows that open metal site MOFs have significant X-ray spectral signatures that are highly sensitive to the adsorption of carbon dioxide and other molecules.”

    Kortright is the corresponding author of a paper describing these results in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The paper is titled Probing Adsorption Interactions In Metal-Organic Frameworks Using X-ray Spectroscopy. Co-authors are Walter Drisdell, Roberta Poloni, Thomas McDonald, Jeffrey Long, Berend Smit, Jeffrey Neaton and David Prendergast.

    Mg-MOF-74 is an open metal site MOF whose porous crystalline structure could enable it to serve as a storage vessel for capturing and containing the carbon dioxide emitted from coal-burning power plants. (National Academy of Sciences)

    See the full article here.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California

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  • richardmitnick 3:53 pm on April 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , car, Carbon Sequestration, ,   

    From Livermore Lab: “Lawrence Livermore scientists discover new materials to capture methane” 

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Anne M Stark, LLNL, (925) 422-9799, stark8@llnl.gov

    “Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and UC Berkeley and have discovered new materials to capture methane, the second highest concentration greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere.

    Methane capture in zeolite SBN. Blue represents adsorption sites, which are optimal for methane (CH4) uptake. Each site is connected to three other sites (yellow arrow) at optimal interaction distance.

    Methane is a substantial driver of global climate change, contributing 30 percent of current net climate warming. Concern over methane is mounting, due to leaks associated with rapidly expanding unconventional oil and gas extraction, and the potential for large-scale release of methane from the Arctic as ice cover continues to melt and decayed material releases methane to the atmosphere. At the same time, methane is a growing source of energy, and aggressive methane mitigation is key to avoiding dangerous levels of global warming.

    The research team, made up of Amitesh Maiti, Roger Aines and Josh Stolaroff of LLNL and Professor Berend Smit, researchers Jihan Kim and Li-Chiang Lin at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, performed systematic computer simulation studies on the effectiveness of methane capture using two different materials – liquid solvents and nanoporous zeolites (porous materials commonly used as commercial adsorbents).

    While the liquid solvents were not effective for methane capture, a handful of zeolites had sufficient methane sorption to be technologically promising. The research appears in the April 16 edition of the journal, Nature Communications.”

    Operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security
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  • richardmitnick 5:03 pm on January 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carbon Sequestration, ,   

    From Berkeley Lab: “A New Way to Study Permafrost Soil, Above and Below Ground” 

    Berkeley Lab

    Berkeley Lab research could lead to a better understanding of the Arctic ecosystem’s impact on the planet’s climate

    January 03, 2013
    Dan Krotz

    What does pulling a radar-equipped sled across the Arctic tundra have to do with improving our understanding of climate change? It’s part of a new way to explore the little-known world of permafrost soils, which store almost as much carbon as the rest of the world’s soils and about twice as much as is in the atmosphere.

    Berkeley Permafrost

    The new approach combines several remote-sensing tools to study the Arctic landscape—above and below ground—in high resolution and over large spatial scales. It was developed by a group of researchers that includes scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

    They use ground-penetrating radar, electrical resistance tomography, electromagnetic data, and LiDAR airborne measurements. Together, these tools allow the scientists to see the different layers of the terrestrial ecosystem, including the surface topography, the active layer that seasonally freezes and thaws, and the deeper permafrost layer.

    The goal is to help scientists determine what will happen to permafrost-trapped carbon as the climate changes. Will it stay put? Or will it enter the atmosphere and accelerate climate change?

    The scientists use data from airborne Lidar, surface geophysical measurements, and point measurements to explore the complex relationships between different layers of permafrost soil.

    ‘By combining surface geophysical and airborne remote-sensing methods, we have a new window that allows us to study permafrost systems like never before,’ says Susan Hubbard, a geophysicist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division who leads the Lab’s participation in the NGEE-Arctic collaboration.


    Carbon sequestration and carbon dioxide are constants in our lives, making this a very important research. See the full article here.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California


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  • richardmitnick 3:34 pm on December 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carbon Sequestration, ,   

    From PNNL: “Carbon dioxide reveals a predilection for tumbling alone and lining up together” 

    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

    Carbon Dioxide emissions are very important, so this research is very important.

    December 2012
    Suraiya Farukhi
    Christine Sharp

    Results: Crowded together on a titanium dioxide surface, carbon dioxide molecules relinquish their free-tumbling ways to form crooked lines and cling to molecules in nearby lines, according to scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Bringing together a trio of instruments and a supercomputer, the team joined experiments and theory to understand carbon dioxide’s behavior.

    ‘We want to build our understanding from the ground up,’ said Dr. Zdenek Dohnalek, an experimental chemist on the study. ‘We want to understand the interaction of carbon dioxide with well-known models of oxides, such as titanium dioxide.’

    Carbon dioxide diffuses on titanium rows by a tumbling mechanism. Once bound to a titanium atom, the carbon dioxide’s axis tilts. No image credit.

    Why It Matters: Understanding how carbon dioxide molecules behave is basic science needed by the energy sector to facilitate carbon sequestration and fuel production. Sequestration stores carbon dioxide emissions from power plants underground. Fuel production uses the carbon dioxide as a building block to create fuels.

    ‘While titanium dioxide is a model material that will likely not be used to sequester carbon dioxide or serve as a catalyst for fuel conversion, the fundamental aspects of carbon dioxide reactivity revealed in our study are very intriguing,’ said Dr. Xiao Lin, a Linus Pauling Postdoctoral Fellow at PNNL, who proposed this research as part of his fellowship.”

    See the full article here.


    “Located in Richland, Washington, PNNL is one among ten U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories managed by DOE’s Office of Science. Our research strengthens the U.S. foundation for innovation, and we help find solutions for not only DOE, but for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Administration, other government agencies, universities and industry.”

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  • richardmitnick 6:01 pm on January 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Carbon Sequestration, , ,   

    From Berkeley Lab: “Depleted Gas Reservoirs Can Double as Geologic Carbon Storage Sites” 

    Berkeley Lab

    Berkeley Lab scientists help verify science behind geologic carbon sequestration

    Dan Krotz
    JANUARY 05, 2012

    “A demonstration project on the southeastern tip of Australia has helped to verify that depleted natural gas reservoirs can be repurposed for geologic carbon sequestration, which is a climate change mitigation strategy that involves pumping CO2 deep underground for permanent storage.

    The project, which includes scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), also demonstrated that depleted gas fields have enough CO2 storage capacity to make a significant contribution to reducing global emissions.

    Aerial view of the Otway Project in Australia (Image: CO2CRC).

    During an 18-month span beginning in April 2008, an international team of researchers injected 65,000 tonnes of CO2-rich gas two kilometers underground into a depleted gas field in western Victoria, Australia. That’s about 130 tonnes of CO2 per day, or the amount emitted by a small, 10-megawatt power plant. It’s also the daily CO2 emissions required to supply 6000 average U.S. homes with electricity.

    Geological cross-section of the Otway Project. CO2-rich gas is extracted from the Buttress well (on the left), injected into the depleted gas field using CRC-1, and the Naylor-1 well houses the monitoring equipment installed by Berkeley Lab scientists. Faults are black lines.

    ‘There was no discernible leakage. The CO2 stayed within the reservoir and behaved as expected,’ says Barry Freifeld, a mechanical engineer in Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division who helped set up and interpret the site’s well-based monitoring equipment.”

    See the full article here. There is a whole lot more in this article than I could possibly include.

    A US Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California


  • richardmitnick 10:29 am on January 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carbon Sequestration, , , , , ,   

    From DOE Pulse: “Initiative aims to speed carbon capture technology” 

    January 2, 2012
    Submitted by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory

    “The Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) is a partnership among five DOE national laboratories (NETL, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Pacific Northwest), industry, and various academic institutions that are working together to develop state-of-the-art computational modeling and simulation tools to accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture technologies from discovery to development, demonstration, and ultimately, widespread deployment at hundreds of power plants. CCSI is part of DOE/NETL’s comprehensive carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) research program, part of the President’s plan to overcome barriers to the widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years.”

    See the full post here.


  • richardmitnick 3:17 pm on November 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carbon Sequestration, ,   

    From PNNL Lab: “What Are Those Molecules Doing?” 

    New technology enables molecular-level insight into carbon sequestration

    Results: Scientists decoding the reactions that occur during geologic carbon sequestration were severely hampered by the tools available. Now, thanks to a team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists can examine molecular interactions at the high pressures and temperatures expected in deep geologic reservoirs. They created a device, known as High-pressure Magic Angle Spinning Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (MAS NMR), that provides detailed information on the reactions happening between minerals and carbon dioxide.

    ‘The early work with this new tool is promising,’ said Dr. Kevin Rosso, a PNNL geochemist on the study. “This unique capability brings the detailed probing power of solid-state NMR to the table for understanding mineral transformations in pressurized carbon dioxide in situ.’

    Why It Matters: Sequestering carbon-based emissions, especially from coal-fired power plants, is vital to managing climate change, which affects cities and crops. For widespread carbon sequestration adoption, complex questions about the permanence of proposed underground reservoirs must be answered. These questions include the prospect of reactions between minerals and carbon-dioxide-rich fluids affecting caprock’s sealing integrity. The new MAS NMR capability will aid in fundamentally studying these reactions, ultimately so that scientists can inform industry and policymakers on site selection and other decisions.”

    Thanks to a team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists can examine molecular interactions at the high pressures and temperatures expected in deep geologic reservoirs.

    See the full article here.


  • richardmitnick 8:37 pm on May 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Carbon Sequestration, ,   

    From NETL: “Materials for Oxy-fuel Combustion” 

    LabNotes – May 2011

    Materials for Oxy-fuel Combustion

    “Materials research is underway at NETL to enable the development of advanced combustion technologies that can capture at least 90% of a power plant’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions with less than a 35% increase in the cost of electricity. Oxy-fuel combustion is a new technology that is based on burning fossil fuels in a mixture of recirculated flue gas and oxygen, rather than in air. An optimized oxy-combustion power plant will have ultra-low emissions since the flue gas that results from oxy-fuel combustion is almost all CO2 and water vapor.”

    A representative pc boiler refitted for oxy-firing. The materials performance research areas at NETL are circled. Note the two different options for CO2 circulation back into the boiler to maintain heat transfer characteristics similar to air-firing.

    There is a lot more to this story. See the full article here.

  • richardmitnick 12:50 pm on February 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Carbon Sequestration,   

    From Berkeley Labs: “A Clearer Picture of Carbon Sequestration” 

    Simulations Shed Light on Fate of Sequestered CO2

    Margie Wylie
    January 31, 2010

    “Despite progress in clean energy, Americans will continue to rely on fossil fuels for years to come. In fact, coal-, oil- and natural gas-fired power plants will generate 69 percent of U.S. electricity as late as 2035, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    Such sobering projections have sparked a wide range of proposals for keeping the resulting carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere where it traps heat and contributes to global warming. Berkeley Lab scientists are using computer simulations to evaluate one promising idea: Pump it into salt-water reservoirs deep underground…

    Geologic sequestration in saline aquifers (3) is shown in this illustration alongside other geologic sequestration ideas. Courtesy of Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC)

    “Underground, or geologic, carbon sequestration ‘…will be key tool in reducing atmospheric CO2,’ says George Pau, a Luis W. Alvarez Postdoctoral Fellow with Berkeley Lab’s Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering (CCSE). ‘By providing better characterizations of the processes involved, we can more accurately predict the performance of carbon sequestration projects, including the storage capacity and long-term security of a potential site.’ “

    This is a very important topic. There is a great deal of valuable data in this article. Read the full article here.

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