The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) announced on August 17 that it will dole out a total of almost $17 million to research new CO2 storage technologies through DOE’s Carbon Storage Program and to research coal conversion and utilization through NETL’s University Coal Research Program.

Nine projects will receive funding to research technologies devoted to intelligent monitoring systems and advanced well integrity and mitigation approaches for CO2 storage, and six projects will receive funding for coal research.

The DOE says its Carbon Storage Program “advances the development and validation of technologies that enable safe, cost-effective, permanent geologic storage of CO2.” The program also supports the development of best practices for commercial implementation of carbon capture and storage technologies.

The largest award—$2,891,996—went to Archer Daniels Midland to research use of a permanent seismic monitoring network to deliver critical forecasts of reservoir conditions and enable decision-making related to optimal operation and maintenance. It will partner with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sillixa Ltd., U.S. Geological Survey, Schlumberger, Richland Community College, and the Illinois State Geological Society on the project.

Other award winners include the University of North Dakota, the University of Texas, Austin, Los Alamos National Security LLC, Battelle Memorial Institute, Montana State University, C-Crete Technologies LLC, the University of Colorado, and the University of Virginia. Selected projects concentrate on three research priorities:

  • Carbon capture and storage-specific intelligent systems for monitoring, controlling, and optimizing CO2 injection operations,
  • Diagnostic tools and methods capable of characterizing borehole leakage pathways or fluid flow in existing wells, and
  • Next-generation materials and methods for mitigating wellbore leakage

The coal research projects are intended to improve “the fundamental understanding of chemical and physical processes for environmentally friendly coal conversion and utilization, byproduct utilization, and technological development.” Projects being funded fall under two subtopic areas: sensors and controls, and simulation-based engineering.

Winners included the University of Connecticut, the University of Maine, Washington State University, West Virginia University, the University of North Dakota, and the University of Texas, El Paso. Each will receive about $400,000 from the DOE.

Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)