The U.S. Department of Energy is preparing to commission the first large-scale demonstrations of CO2 capture and deep geologic storage to fulfill Phase III of the Carbon Sequestration Regional Partnerships Program.

The partnerships have proposed large-scale projects suited to specific regions, some to capture and store between 1 and 2 million tons of CO2 per year. Proposals for Phase III demonstrations, part of the Climate Change Technology Initiative, include the first-large scale applications to coal-based power plants, plus natural gas processing plants and ethanol production plants. Storage proposals include the first demonstration of using a depleted U.S. oil field for sequestration, and the world’s first large-scale on-shore storage in deep saline formations. Proposed storage depths range from 3,000 to 10,000', or from more than half-a-mile up to almost two miles. And all formations, or sinks, are covered by high-integrity cap rock to ensure the security of long-term storage.

Each proposed demonstration would test a specific regional geology, through a full project cycle, from site characterization to actual injection and post-closure monitoring for security of storage. Important steps include permitting, satisfying all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, development and testing of injection wells, development of CO2 transportation and infrastructure, actual CO2 injection, monitoring behavior in storage, site closure and post-closure monitoring of CO2.

Phase III sites would become candidates for continued or subsequent use in CO2 storage to accommodate capture from existing large-point sources or from new plants. At present, the world has three large-scale demonstrations of capture and storage in operation.