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Energy and Environment Directorate

Research Capabilities

Carbon Sequestration

"Carbon sequestration" is a family of methods for capturing and permanently isolating gases that otherwise could contribute to global climate change. Affordable and environmentally safe sequestration approaches could offer a way to stabilize atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide without requiring the United States and other countries to make large-scale and potentially costly changes to their energy infrastructures.

Carbon dioxide sequestration in geologic formations includes oil and gas reservoirs, un-mineable coal seams, and deep saline reservoirs. These structures have stored crude oil, natural gas, brine and carbon dioxide over millions of years. Many power plants and other large emitters of carbon dioxide are located near geologic formations that are amenable to carbon dioxide storage. Further, in many cases, injection of carbon dioxide into a geologic formation can enhance the recovery of hydrocarbons, providing value-added byproducts that can offset the cost of carbon dioxide capture and sequestration.

The Geosciences Group is currently heavily involved in a number of carbon sequestration projects including the National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) Program, the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership (BSCSP), a pilot project to inject CO2 into a deep basalt formation located near Wallula, Washington, and FutureGen 2.0, a demonstration project designed to capture approximately 1.1 million tons of CO2 each year (more than 90 percent of the plant’s carbon emissions), and then transport and store the CO2 underground at a nearby storage site in Morgan County, Illinois.

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas