After getting the fundamentals of geological carbon storage through classroom and group exercises, it was finally time for the RECS group to go out into the field and see CCS in action.
Along with RECS, our team went into the field with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Southwest Regional Partnership (SWP) on Carbon Sequestration.
At New Mexico’s Pump Canyon, our team toured SWP’s test project site, where researchers are injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into the ground.
For years, the Cortez Pipeline has been bringing pure CO2 from the McElmo Dome (a natural geological formation located in southwestern Colorado) to west Texas for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects.
The effort at Pump Canyon is to take a stream of that CO2 and bury it — permanently — in the New Mexico bedrock 3,000 below ground level. Injection at Pump Canyon began July 31, 2008.
Measuring what happens to the sequestered CO2 is the responsibility of the crew at Pump Canyon.
They measure the surface temperature and surface pressure. They use tilt meters and air flux meters. They do seismic profiling and drop geophones down wells. Being 100 percent certain is their business, and they take it seriously.
As we’ve often said, the next generation of clean coal technology will include the eventual capture and safe storage of CO2. And now we’ve seen with our own eyes that when the technology is ready, it will not only be a clean technology, it will be a safe one.
For the last few days, we’ve been attending the Research Experience in Carbon Sequestration (RECS) – a 10-day program that advances scientific research and professional training in the field of carbon capture and storage (CCS).