Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Core sampling signals next step in large-scale sequestration project

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: A large-scale carbon dioxide sequestration project is under development in northern British Columbia, Canada. The project is located near Spectra Energy’s Fort Nelson natural gas processing plant. The project is an international collaboration that includes Spectra Energy, the Province of British Columbia, Natural Resources Canada, the Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

In its press release the DOE describes the project as one of the first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage projects in a saline aquifer in North America. With projected storage of over two million tons of CO2 per year it is slated to be one of the largest carbon sequestration projects in the world. The goal of the project is to develop technology, infrastructure and regulations for the implementation of large-scale CO2 sequestration.

The PCOR Partnership has begun collecting core samples and is implementing a well logging program. “Core sampling and well logging help determine a site’s geologic suitability for safe and permanent storage of CO2. Coring of the Elk Point rock formations at Fort Nelson will provide researchers, geologists, and reservoir experts with characterization data of the carbonate formations that will be used to store the CO2 and the impermeable shale layers above that will act as a cap rock to contain the CO2. As part of these activities, numerous geomechanical and geochemical tests designed to evaluate the performance of the reservoir and containment rocks will be performed.

The information collected from the core samples, together with tests and well logging, will be critical in developing simulation models and the anticipated design and implementation of CO2 injection. The project is expected to involve the eventual transportation of CO2 from Spectra Energy’s Fort Nelson natural gas processing plant to the injection site.”

This is just one of many stories about CO2 capture and storage appearing recently. For Blue Fuel/DME producers these news stories are promising ones. For conventional producers of Blue Fuel/DME from coal and natural gas feedstocks, the development of carbon capture and storage technology at the production stage is crucial for the acceptance of their product in a world increasingly dominated by the concept of carbon-neutrality. In addition, should producers of conventional or carbon-neutral Blue Fuel/DME sell their product for utilization at a point source such as an electrical power plant, carbon capture and storage at the end stage would further enhance the green profile of their fuel, increase its competitive edge and further reduce its impact on global climate change.

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