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Using CO2 for enhanced coalbed methane recovery and storage

World Coal,

Concern that the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere is contributing to global climate change has led to efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels. The Carbon Storage Program, implemented by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), is helping to develop technologies that capture, separate and store CO2 to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without adversely influencing energy use or hindering economic growth.

One promising CCS option with enormous near-term deployment potential is geological storage of CO2 in unmineable coal seams. The injection of CO2 into unmineable coal seams can lead to enhanced coalbed methane (ECBM) recovery, in which revenue from produced hydrocarbons can help offset the cost of capture and storage.

The potential capacity for CO2 storage in unmineable coal seams in the US is significant, representing at least 15 years of emissions from large stationary sources (currently about 3780 million tpa of CO2). . Since up to 80% of coal in the US is unmineable, ECBM represents a significant opportunity for increasing domestic and, potential, global gas production.

In this report, the authors detail efforts to evaluate the potential of CCS projects, involving CO2 injection and storage into unmineable coal seams and associated ECBM production. They explain how doing so will provide greater insight into the potential for safe and permanent storage of CO2 in coal seams in the US and will refine the national assessment of CO2 storage capacity in coal formations by furthering fundamental research on the interaction of CO2 and coal.

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Written by John Litynski, NETL, and Derk Vikara, Michael Tennyson and Malcom Webster, KeyLogic Systems Inc.

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