Archive for Friday, December 2, 2011

Kansas Geological Survey gets $11M grant for greenhouse gas project

December 2, 2011


Kansas University’s Kansas Geological Survey has received an $11.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to test the feasibility of storing carbon dioxide underground in south-central Kansas.

The greenhouse gas will be captured from the Abengoa Bioenergy Corp. plant near Colwich and will be transported by truck to an injection well in the Wellington oil field south of Wichita in Sumner County. About 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide will be used to enhance oil recovery in a well, and an additional 40,000 metric tons will be compressed and injected into the lower portion of the Arbuckle saline aquifer.

The water in the aquifer is too salty for human consumption and is separated from freshwater aquifers by thousands of feet of rock.

Both uses could be a boon to the local and state economy, said Lynn Watney, a senior scientific fellow at the Kansas Geological Survey. He is the grant’s lead investigator, along with fellow KGS geologist Jason Rush.

Watney said the enhanced oil recovery process, which has been done in Texas for years and tested in an oil field near Russell, could yield 20 percent to 25 percent more oil than traditional methods. The carbon sequestration in the aquifer is a newer process, though, and the project will work with industry partners to measure and collect data to determine its effectiveness.

“We’re basically on the leading edge — some might say the bleeding edge — of what’s practical, what is essential and what can be effectively monitored,” he said.

The latest grant takes the total amount of Department of Energy funds devoted to the Kansas Geological Survey’s carbon sequestration research to about $23 million.

Rush said the carbon sequestration could have additional economic benefits for the state if cap-and-trade legislation ever gains approval.

“The main thing is we don’t want to be behind the curve,” Rush said. “If carbon trading does come down as legislation at some point, that could be an economic benefit for Kansas.”

The project is scheduled to run over a period of about three or four years, Rush said, and is really a small-scale pilot project.

He said the total amount of carbon dioxide that will be injected represents a “fraction of a percent” of the capacity of the space that could be used in the oil field and the aquifer.


Daniel Kennamore 6 years, 4 months ago

Not only is this a great research area, but it helps secure our AAU for the foreseeable future. Great stuff.

Ockhams_Razor 6 years, 4 months ago

Was this a competitively awarded grant in a Department of Energy program, or was it hard-wired in an appropriations bill (i.e. one of those earmarks we read about)?

Ken Lassman 6 years, 4 months ago

Jack, I just want to clarify something: carbon sequestration in saline aquifers would be used to sequester CO2, which is well worth exploring, but CO2 in oil wells is used for enhanced oil recovery, right?

Seems that the sequestration project is fine, but if you are sequestering CO2 and getting oil out of the ground in the process, then your sequestering is cancelled out by the fact that the oil will then be refined and burned, releasing--you guessed it--CO2. Studies I've seen show that the release of CO2 from the recovered oil that is refined and combusted cancels out any CO2 sequestered in the EOR process. Some studies even say that it's even worse than a wash, i.e. that there is net release of CO2.

This doesn't necessarily mean it's a totally bad thing, since EOR using CO2 can provide us with more domestic oil from depleted fields, but it certainly needs to be emphasized that this is not a greenhouse gas reducing endeavor.

overthemoon 6 years, 4 months ago

Insane, indeed. Absolutely incapable of thinking about anything in a rational and comprehensive manner. And fearful and paranoid because the skillful rhetoricians of the right have convinced him/her that lies are true by making all arguments simple and emotional so that reason is no longer part of the thought process.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, we know. So?

Who told you we had to switch off the heat? They weren't selling energy produced from fossil fuels were they?

If you look, you'll find that the petition's definition of scientist is pretty weak.

So, you like driving a big truck and turning up the heat; therefore CO2 is not a greenhouse gas. Any more brilliant insights for us, Einstein?

Ken Lassman 6 years, 4 months ago

Lawrenceguy40, Perses just gave you a bunch of evidence that you just completely blew off with the phrase: "Look at the evidence. You will find none."

So I'm curious: what would the evidence have to look like for you to be convinced that human CO2 emissions are making an impact on the planet's climate?

But wait a minute. You said that CO2 levels have always fluctuated and temperatures have always fluctuated.So maybe you DO agree that the climate has changed, and is changing, yes? If so, maybe we are agreeing with that, and maybe you are just saying it's just not that big a deal that the climate is changing?

Chris Golledge 6 years, 4 months ago

You are seeing things that are not there. For instance, have you read Mann's 1998 "hide the decline" paper? I have. In it he explains exactly how he produced his often talked about graph, and even mentions the decline in the correlation between tree ring growth and temperature in recent decades. So, what do you think was 'hidden"? Nothing was hidden from anyone who actually read the paper.

The idea that humans burning fossil fuels will change the climate is about 100 years old. It was scoffed at by the majority at the start, but over the last 100 years has become accepted by every significant scientific body of every nation. The fact that you personally don't understand the physics and choose not to believe that maybe someone understands it better than you does not mean much. No one has been able to refute the theory in a way that has withstood scrutiny for 100 years. But, I suppose that means nothing to you.

I suppose you think that this international conspiracy of scientists is responsible for the rising temperatures, the global drop in ice mass, the shifting of timing of seasons, the shifting of the Hadley cells (and where the rain bands are), the measured reduction in outgoing energy, etc. One could hope that your sanity, and the sanity of others like you, will return in 338 days, but I doubt that it will.

overthemoon 6 years, 4 months ago

Shame on you. frank Luntz has banned the word 'entrepreneur' from your vocabulary. Didn't you get the message?

And just to help you sleep better and quit with the teeth nashing, President Obama (the proper respectful real American way of addressing him) wants tax BREAKs for real small business innovators. But the GOP wants to RAISE their taxes. Go Figure.

But these are facts, and I don't really expect you to believe them.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 4 months ago

Carbon trading is not that good an idea. It puts an upper limit on how much emissions will be reduced, and basically transfers money from the consumer to the brokers.

In contrast, a carbon tax with dividend plan would be revenue neutral to the government because the taxes collected would be returned to the people who paid them. It would simply make fossil fuel energy more expensive relative to alternatives. If the rate started low and was gradually phased in, it would be something that could be planned for when energy companies are investing in new infrastructure.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 4 months ago

If sequestration turns out to be feasible, great. But, the energy used to capture and store the CO2 is a pretty good chunk of the energy obtained from burning the fossil fuel to begin with; so, I suspect that energy suppliers will find that fossil fuel with CCS is not as competitive against alternatives as fossil fuel without CCS.

Energy companies have been talking about how they need just a little more research an CCS for at least a decade. Something is beginning to smell a little fishy.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 4 months ago

ach, Carbon Sequestration and Storage, CSS not CCS.

signoflife 6 years, 4 months ago

Ahh,.. but Carbon Capture and Sequestration is CCS!

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