UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
Site Characterization for CO2 Storage from Coal-fired Power Facilities in the Black Warrior Basin - The Black Warrior basin of Alabama contains two major coal-fired power plants that emitted 27.45 Mt of CO2 to the atmosphere in 2008 from the combustion of pulverized coal. These are the William C. Gorgas (7.53 Mt) and James. H. Miller, Jr. (19.92 Mt) electric generating plants, which serve the Birmingham-Tuscaloosa corridor?an area of significant population growth and industrial development. The Black Warrior basin hosts diverse coal, coalbed methane, and conventional oil and gas resources and has significant CO2 storage capacity. Only about 6 years of storage capacity exists in proven reservoir coal seams. Therefore, additional capacity must be identified and validated to ensure that geologic sequestration technology can be deployed as a low-carbon option for these power plants.
Stacked saline formations are widespread in the Black Warrior basin, and most of these formations underlie the Gorgas and Miller steam plants. Unscreened capacity of these sinks is higher than 28.2 Gt, indicating high potential for geologic sequestration. Saline reservoirs provide the greatest potential for long-term storage, and opportunities exist west of the plants in mature oil and gas fields, where miscible CO2 flooding and pressure maintenance programs may prolong the life of the fields. Multiple seals of regional extent help protect underground sources of drinking water.
The University of Alabama, the Geological Survey of Alabama, and Rice University, in cooperation with Southern Company and the Southeastern Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB), propose to conduct a three-year study called ?Site Characterization for CO2 Storage from Coal-fired Power Facilities in the Black Warrior Basin of Alabama.? Dr. Peter E. Clark, director of the Southeastern Consortium for Geologic Carbon Sequestration at the University of Alabama, will serve as Principal Investigator.
This program includes the development and characterization of a test site at the Gorgas steam plant. This plant, in service since 1917, was chosen because flue-gas desulfurization units facilitate the deployment of CCS technology, the local geology is highly favorable, and no deep wells are nearby to pose leakage risk. Site characterization will include drilling and coring a test well; quantifying capacity and injectivity using an array of advanced petrophysical and geophysical techniques; and analyzing seal integrity and containment using petrophysical, geophysical, well testing, and simulation techniques.
The results of these activities will be used to assess risks associated with geologic carbon storage in the Black Warrior basin and to develop a regional plan for the application of carbon sequestration technology. This project will contribute to the knowledge base of best practices for the characterization and approval of storage sites. A robust technology transfer program will be conducted throughout this study to ensure stakeholder input on the progress and direction of the project and to facilitate timely dissemination of results to stakeholders and the public.