The Midwestern Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) has been established to assess the technical potential, economic viability, and public acceptability of carbon sequestration within its region. It is one of seven regional partnerships established by the DOE
across the U.S. as part of an overall DOE strategy to develop robust, cost-effective options for mitigating carbon dioxide (CO 2
) emissions that contribute to climate change.
The MRCSP region originally consisted of seven contiguous states: Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. New York became the eighth member state in 2007. In the summer of 2009, New Jersey joined the MRCSP as its ninth state. Delaware recently joined in 2015. A group of leading universities, state geological surveys, nongovernmental organizations and private companies, led by Battelle
, has been assembled to carry out this important research.
The DOE's Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Program is being implemented in three incremental phases. MRCSP initiated work in October 2003 under a two-year Phase I, or Characterization Phase. The research continued under Phase II, or Validation Phase, which was completed in 2010 and will be summarized in reports that are currently being prepared. MRCSP has now initiated a 10-year, third phase, or Development Phase, of the research.
The objective of the Phase I effort was to develop a coherent picture of CO₂ sources and sequestration opportunities in the MRCSP region. Based on this mapping activity, the MRCSP developed recommendations for small-scale field validation tests. During Phase II, the MRCSP conducted multiple geologic and terrestrial field tests throughout the region. Phase III research focuses on deploying a larger-scale geologic field test. The knowledge gained from this research will be of broad value to the regional economy, allowing continued production of clean, affordable energy that uses economic fossil fuels in a manner consistent with climate change. In the long run, the MRCSP aims to:
- Bring together internationally-recognized research leaders to help develop practical carbon management solutions.
- Define the real-world potential and what it will take to realize the potential carbon sequestration in the region.
- Help the region create a robust and cost-effective means for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Enable the region to take a leadership position in developing local and global carbon management solutions.
The MRCSP Team
The MRCSP currently consists of nearly 40 members. All are contributing technical knowledge, expertise and cost sharing in various amounts. DOE, through the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), is the single largest sponsor of the MRCSP’s research. The Ohio Coal Development Office is the second largest funding organization followed by a number of the region’s largest energy companies and other participating organizations.
MRCSP team members are categorized broadly into two groups, the research partner team and the industry partner team. The research partner team includes many of the MRCSP region's leading universities, state geological surveys, research firms and a regional, environmental nongovernmental organization. The industry partner team includes state energy agencies, energy companies, other industrial companies (including the world’s largest steel producer), suppliers to the energy industry, and agricultural entities that are active in the MRCSP region. Current Phase III team members are listed alphabetically below.
Primary Sponsor: DOE/NETL
Project Lead: Battelle
Industry Partner Team
American Electric Power
Babcock and Wilcox
Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED)
Chicago Climate Exchange
Indiana Office of the Consumer Counselor
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
Ohio Coal Development Office within the Ohio Department of Development
Ohio Consumers' Counsel
Sinotech Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Research Partner Team
Core Energy LLC
Indiana Geological Survey
Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky
Maryland Geological Survey
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
New York State Museum
Ohio Division of Geological Survey
Ohio Environmental Council
Pennsylvania Geological Survey
Rutgers University The Keystone Center
The Ohio State University
University of Maryland
West Virginia Geological Survey
West Virginia University
Western Michigan University
MRCSP Characterization Phase Activities (Phase I)
During the first phase of the program (October 2003 - September 2005), the MRCSP:
- Identified CO₂ sources in the region. Assessed the cost of capturing CO₂ from these sources. Assessed the region's potential for storing CO₂ in deep geologic reservoirs and terrestrial ecosystems.
- Identified critical issues for technology deployment, safety, economics, regulations and
- public acceptability.
- Engaged stakeholders to inform them about carbon sequestration and obtain their
- Identified potential Phase II field demonstration projects.
CO₂ Sources in the MRCSP Region
Due to its large and diverse economy, the MRCSP region includes a large variety of agricultural and industrial sources of greenhouse gases. Most of these emissions are in the form of CO₂; however, a portion of these greenhouse gases are in the form of other gases (e.g., methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases). Therefore, when scientists speak of these other greenhouse gases, they speak of them in terms of their climate change impact equivalence to CO₂ emissions.
The MRCSP region emits more than 830 million metric tons of CO₂ each year from large point sources including power plants, refineries, cement plants, and iron and steel plants (not including New Jersey). A large point source in this case is one that emits more than 100,000 tons of CO₂ annually. Automobiles and other forms of transportation are collectively another major source of anthropogenic (man-made) CO₂ emissions.
MRCSP's Terrestrial and Geologic CO₂ Reservoirs
The states of New York and New Jersey have recently joined the MRCSP. The following data are currently being updated to include the these states.
The MRCSP has a great potential for both terrestrial and geologic sequestration. The region contains a variety of terrestrial sequestration options, such as eroded and noneroded (prime) cropland, marginal land, mine land, and wetland and marsh land. For example, the region contains a large area of degraded and abandoned mine lands that, if properly restored, could serve as an important terrestrial sequestration reservoir.
The MRCSP's potential for sequestration in deep geologic formations includes large areas of deep saline formations, depleted gas formations and unmineable coal seams. There is also a large number of depleted reservoirs that could use CO₂ to help boost domestic oil production while simultaneously sequestrating CO₂ in a process known as enhanced oil recovery. Gaining a better understanding of the distribution of these formations across nine states and their ability to sequester CO₂ is a continuing focus of MRCSP's geologic research.