The MRCSP completed its geologic sequestration field demonstration in the Appalachian Basin at FirstEnergy’s R.E. Burger electric power plant near Shadyside, Ohio during the period summer 2006 to fall 2009. The R.E. Burger Plant is located along the Ohio River Valley, an area of the MRCSP region containing multiple large sources of CO₂. The Appalachian Basin consists of sedimentary rock formations, including some that may have potential for the safe and permanent storage of CO₂. The test results are being used to develop best practices and to better understand the sequestration potential of the region.
The demonstration involved a test injection of a small volume of carbon dioxide within deep sandstone and carbonate formations that contain brine water. Specific geologic formations that were assessed include the Oriskany Sandstone, the Salina Formation, and the Clinton Sandstone, which are located between 5,900 and 8,300 feet below the surface. The State of Ohio has regulatory oversight over injection wells in the state. The deep rock formations tested were saturated with dense brine, not suitable for drinking, and are well below drinking water sources, which are typically less that several hundred feet below the surface.
MRCSP, Battelle and DOE are currently preparing a detailed report of the field test at the R.E. Burger site. The analysis of the R.E. Burger data will improve site evaluation methods, allow the fine tuning of predictive computer models, and improve storage capacity estimates both regionally and nationwide. The most recent activities are shown in the project snapshot below.
Please click on these links to see additional information about the Appalachian Basin field test including the project briefing
, the project fact sheet
, the press release
issued by FirstEnergy, and communications materials
FirstEnergy shared with the neighbors located near the project.
This project provided valuable geologic understanding and “lessons learned” within an area of the Appalachian Basin that has few existing deep wells for geologic characterization. This snapshot provides a brief update on what is happening at the site and what has been learned. It describes the basic approach to testing and monitoring and provides a preliminary review of the results. A more detailed scientific report on the testing at Burger will be prepared later by Battelle as part of its MRCSP reporting.
The R.E. Burger Plant was chosen as a Phase II small-scale validation test site because of its location central to one of the nation’s major power generation corridors, the Ohio River Valley, and because it was expected to provide access to geologic formations having significant expected storage capacity across the region. Excellent cooperation provided by host FirstEnergy and the potential to co-locate an injection test project at a coal-fired power plant were also factors. Early in the planning process there was also the potential for linking the injection test with a pilot demonstration of a developmental capture process at the site.
The injection tests at the R.E. Burger site revealed that the three targeted geologic formations did not have sufficient porosity and permeability at this site for completing the small-scale injection of 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide as planned. Because rock properties can vary due to the complex nature of the formations within the basin, the lack of injectivity at this particular location for these three formations does not preclude the presence of suitable formations in other locations within the Appalachian Basin. The results from this test will be shared so that the region willbenefit from the experience gained during the extensive drilling, formation evaluation, and testing.
Basic Approach to Testing and Monitoring
The basic approach to testing and monitoring, illustrated in the graphic above, involved the following steps:
1. Based on readily available information about the region, a conceptual model was developed to evaluate the site’s potential for geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. MRCSP used reservoir test methods that are similar to those used by oil companies in oil and gas production but included special features to account for geology and behavior of carbon dioxide in the ground.
2. During the site characterization, the test well was drilled to collect sitespecific data. Sidewall core samples and direct measurements from the well were taken and analyzed to determine porosity, permeability and other relevant information. (Click here for pictures of drilling and core sample collection.)
3. The data collected from the test well were used to develop pressure-response curves to estimate the injectivity of the reservoirs. The results of the design calculations indicated that rapid pressure buildup could potentially be expected.
4. The carbon sequestration test was conducted; the pressure buildup within the formation was carefully monitored. The design calculations were compared to test results to assess the predictive capability for carbon dioxide injection in porous rock.
In addition, rock samples from the Salina Formation were analyzed. This layer had the highest porosity of the three layers sampled. The results indicated porosity ranging from 2 to 10%. While this level of porosity could be suitable for injection, actual injection tests were needed to confirm the suitability (i.e., permeability) of these formations for carbon dioxide injection.
Test Well Design
Based on the site characterization, a well was completed to allow injection into three potential storage reservoirs: the Clinton Sandstone (about 8,200 feet deep), the Salina Formation (about 6,900 feet deep); and the Oriskany Sandstone (about 5,900 feet deep) (see the graphic below).