Carbon Management Initiatives at the VCCER

A major focus of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER) in recent years has been carbon management, through our participation in phases 1 and 2 of the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB), funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy. As part of SECARB, the VCCER contributed to the ongoing development of the Carbon Storage Atlas, established partnerships with coal companies, utilities, industry consultants, government entities and the general public, completed pilot projects to test storage of CO2 in coal seams in Virginia and Alabama, and participated in the SECARB-Ed project to provide regional education and outreach to train future professionals in the field of carbon capture and storage. Although the SECARB-Ed project has been completed, we continue to offer programs to professionals on this topic.

Moving forward in the area of carbon sequestration, the VCCER is now in phase 3 of an almost $15 million project from the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy to perform a larger scale test, injecting 20,000 tons of CO2 in unconventional reservoirs. One aspect of this project is enhanced coalbed methane recovery, potentially resulting in significantly increased revenue and value of reserves to offset the additional costs of carbon sequestration, which will be advantageous to the energy consumer as well as to the energy industry. The most important potential benefit, however, is the possible mitigation of global climate change because CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere. It is anticipated that this project will conclude with monitoring and analysis during phase 3, and end in December 2017.

VCCER's Research Team picture

Quantifying Risks for Geologic Carbon Storage Sites

by Jenny Bowman, Technical Writer, National Energy Technology Laboratory