The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
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Bureau Director Scott W. Tinker and GCCC Principal Investigator Susan HovorkaBureau of Economic Geology researchers are heavily involved in the new Petra Nova Carbon Capture System, which recently broke ground in Fort Bend County, Texas. Petra Nova, a joint venture between NRG and JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration, is being constructed to capture CO2 produced from the W. A. Parish power plant, a massive coal-burning facility. The captured CO2 will then be injected via an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operation into Hilcorp Energy Company's West Ranch oilfield in Jackson County. The Bureau's Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) will monitor the first three years of geologic storage of the anthropogenic CO2 injected into West Ranch. Among the dignitaries present at the groundbreaking were Scott W. Tinker, director of the Bureau, and Susan Hovorka, principal investigator of the GCCC. Vanessa Nuñez-Lopez(left) and Rebecca SmythThe system is projected to be fully operational in mid-2016. An estimated 1.6 million tons of CO2 per year will be used for EOR at West Ranch. When complete, the project will be the largest post-combustion CO2-capture project in an existing coal-fueled power plant in the United States. The project was selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) through its Clean Coal Power Initiative Program (CCPI) to receive $167 million in funding. The Bureau has been assisting Petra Nova with planning for the upcoming operations phase since 2010, including contributions to the original DOE proposal, support with EOR site suitability and characterization, and help with the application for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) approval. GCCC researchers Rebecca Smyth, Vanessa Nuñez-Lopez, and others have played significant roles in the planning and implementation of the project.
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©2014 Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin Bridget Scanlon Project STARR