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DOE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Fund Clean Coal Projects in California and Ohio

$126.6 million was awarded to WESTCARB and MRCSP for large-scale commercialization of carbon sequestration projects.

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Carbon Sequestration Funding by DOE

Carbon Sequestration funding was awarded in mid-May, 2008, by the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate carbon sequestration in Ohio and California. The government says the country has more than 3 trillion metric tons of underground carbon storage capacity.

$126.6 million was awarded to the West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB) and the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) for the Department’s fifth and sixth large-scale carbon sequestration projects.

These industry partnerships, which are part of DOE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, will conduct large volume tests in California and Ohio to demonstrate the ability of a geologic formation to safely, permanently, and economically store more than one million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Carbon Sequestration for Clean Coal Strategy

Advancing carbon sequestration is a key component of the Bush Administration’s comprehensive efforts to commercially advance clean coal technology to meet current and future energy needs and meet President Bush’s goal to stop greenhouse gas emissions growth by 2025.

"The formations to be tested during the third phase of the partnerships program are the most promising of the major geologic basins in the United States. Collectively, these formations have the potential to store more than 100 hundred years of CO2 emissions from all major point sources in North America," Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy Jeffrey Kupfer said. "Tests like these will help provide the confidence and build the infrastructure necessary to commercialize these technologies, and will enable the U.S. to continue using its vast resources of coal while protecting the earth for future generations."

The new projects will demonstrate the entire CO2 injection process — pre-injection characterization, injection process monitoring, and post-injection monitoring — for large scale injections of one million tons or more to test the ability of different geologic settings to permanently store CO2. DOE plans to invest $126.6 million in the two projects over the next 10 years, while the industry partners will provide $56.6 million in cost-shared funds to make these projects a success.

In the first stages of the projects, researchers will characterize the selected sites. Over the first 24 months, researchers and industry partners will complete the modeling, monitoring, and infrastructure improvements needed before CO2 can be injected. These efforts will establish a baseline for future monitoring after CO2 injection begins. Each project will then inject one million tons or more of CO2 into a regionally significant storage formation. After injection, investigators will monitor and model the fate of the CO2 to determine the effectiveness of the storage reservoir.

West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB)

The WESTCARB Partnership, led by the California Energy Commission, will conduct a geologic CO2 storage project in the San Joaquin Basin in Central California.

The project will inject 1 million tons of CO2 over 4 years into deep (7,000+ feet) geologic formations below a 50-megawatt, zero-emission power plant in Kimberlina, CA.

The Clean Energy Systems plant uses natural or synthesis gas in an oxyfuel system and produces a relatively pure stream of CO2. This CO2 will be compressed and injected into one of a number of potential storage formations below the surface of the plant. WESTCARB will develop, operate, and close the injection site as well as monitor the fate of the injected CO2. The WESTCARB Partnership includes California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and British Columbia.

Carbon Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide from Ethanol Production

Proponents contend that the process, known as carbon sequestration, is crucial for the future of Ohio coal. If electric utility plants can burn coal without causing global warming, it would provide a major boost to Ohio's coal industry.

Many environmentalists acknowledge that carbon sequestration can "play an important role" in reducing greenhouse gases. But they fear that Voinovich and other coal-state senators want to focus solely on coal at the expense of clean-burning technologies such as wind and solar power.

Learn more about on DOE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships and other investments by the Bush Administration in advanced clean coal projects at the Office of Fossil Energy's Carbon Sequestration program website.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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