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Paul Jensen (ALS Laboratory group), Nick Hudson (CTSCo) and Katherine Romanak (BEG) stand beside one of the soil gas stations being used for real-time environmental monitoring at the Surat Basin CCS demonstration site. The project is upscaling and improving on Romanak’s initial design for using commercially available sensors for real-time data collection at CO2 geological storage sites. (e.g. Romanak et al., 2014, Energy Procedia 63 ( 2014 ) 4027 – 4030; Romanak et.al., 2015, Chapter 38, in Gerdes, K. F., ed., Carbon dioxide capture for storage in deep geological formations–results from the CO2 Capture Project, Volume 4: CCS Technology Development and Demonstration Results (2009-2014): UK, CPL Press and BP, p. 705-732.)

From February 24- March 7, 2017,  Katherine Romanak travelled to Queensland Australia to provide expertise and conduct research in environmental monitoring for the  Carbon Transport and Storage Corporation Pty Ltd (CTSCo) Surat CCS demonstration projectThe project is designed to demonstrate the technical viability, integration and safe operation of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the Surat Basin. Currently in the feasibility study stage, the project is undergoing assessments and approvals in environmental, social and technical aspects, under the relevant government regulation.)

Romanak’s research project is funded by the Australian National Low Emissions Coal Research and Development Ltd (ANLEC R&D) on behalf of the Australian coal industry and the Australian Commonwealth government. This project will support compliance with environmental requirements for Monitoring and Verification (M&V), including early communication with CTSCo Surat Basin Project stakeholders. The research will help to define a way forward for environmental monitoring at the CTSCo Surat Basin project site and ultimately at project sites within other Australian sedimentary basins.

The hypothesis being tested is that simple soil gas ratios can be used for real-time accurate environmental signal attribution, even in hydrocarbon-rich environments. Also being tested is the degree to which isotopes can be used for signal attribution. This research will give an indication of the most useful methods for environmental compliance and near-surface (M&V) at the CTSCo Surat CCS demonstration project and beyond.
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    The R/V Brooks-McCall, approximately 50 m in length, tows the P-cable system in October 2013 in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy of TDI-Brooks International.

    The Gulf Coast Carbon Center is delighted to have received funding for a new project that will improve monitoring of carbon storage in offshore reservoirs. Tip Meckel is the PI on a $2.5 M award under DOE’s Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research, Development, and Demonstration Crosscut initiative to deploy and validate a novel, ultrahigh resolution 3D marine seismic technology at the Tomakomai carbon storage site in Japan.

    The technology, known as the P-cable because it is towed perpendicular to the direction of a ship’s track, has been used successfully off of the Texas coast to evaluate and characterize storage units with exceptional spatial resolution. Trailing long streamers equipped with seismic receivers in tight formation, the P-cable provides high resolution 3D seismic imagery in a region extending from the seafloor down to about 1500 meters. The detailed data can be used to infer the history of fluid migration, which is key to ensuring that carbon dioxide is stored where it will not leak. The effort was performed as part of the GCCC’s Offshore Miocene Project.

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    Schematic of the P-cable system

    With the new funding, the P-cable will be used to evaluate storage units at the Tomakomai Site, a fully developed carbon capture and storage project offshore from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The project seeks to test feasibility, and if favorable, deploy the P-cable to demonstrate significantly improved spatial resolution and accuracy over a commercially meaningful offshore area. Such high-quality and high-resolution data should decrease both cost and uncertainty in measurements supporting monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) in the subsea environment.

    “This is  an excellent method for GCCC and the US program to advance our expertise in storage in the near-offshore setting via international collaboration with the unique project in Japan,” said Susan Hovorka, GCCC’s Primary Investigator.

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    Dr. Zhou Di visits GCCC to discuss counterfacing offshore sequestration projects.

    Since 2014, the US Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy has presented Awards to two distinguished Chinese scholars who champion the development of technologies related to pollution control and carbon management. These awards enhance global recognition of their achievements, their effectiveness within China, and their collaboration with the U.S. via information sharing and project development. Dr. Di Zhou is one of this year’s Awardees, and has received an invitational speaking tour to the United States, where she will meet with current and future collaborators and share her knowledge with a diverse set of audiences across the country.

    As part of the speaking tour, Dr. Zhou will give a presentation at 9 am on November 13 in the BEG Main Conference Room. We invite you to join us for this prestigious event.

    About the Prize:
    In the past two decades, numerous energy-related research, development and demonstration initiatives have been successfully implemented between the U.S. and China via bilateral agreements and multilateral engagements, such as the fossil energy protocol between DOE and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the Clean Energy Research Center (CERC), and the CCUS initiative under the U.S. – China Climate Change Working Group. These efforts have promoted research and development, information sharing, and other technical cooperation. In the last few years, China has recognized the urgent need for pollution control and carbon management of existing power plants and coal conversion plants. It has intensified efforts to enforce regulations limiting emissions from these plants.

    About the Talk:
    Guangdong, one of the five “Low Carbon Pilot Provinces” in China, has set a carbon reduction target higher than nation’s average. A China-UK collaborative study confirmed the necessity of implementing CCUS in Guangdong in order to meet this target. The study developed a CCUS roadmap for Guangdong, which proposes a million-ton full-chain CCUS demonstration project as the key first step. The study also demonstrated that while inland Guangdong is not suitable for CO2storage, the the Pearl River Mouth Basin (PRMB) offshore Guangdong in the northern South China Sea is a robust storage target.

    In parallel to a study of CO2 capture from a power plant, a study of offshore CO2 storage has focused on seeking a suitable storage site in the PRMB. Prime targets are near depleted oil fields, as such fields provide savings both in cost and in time. By scoring and ranking producing oil fields in the PRMB, three candidate sites have been short-listed. Knowledge gaps in final site selection have been identified, including those in CO2-EOR potential, containment quality, and facility reuse.

    These and future studies are now summarized under the title of the Guangdong CCUS Project, which has been carried out with international collaborations and received financial support from UK SPF and the GCCSI. In late 2013 the UK-China (Guangdong) CCUS Center was established. Recently the Guangdong CCUS Project has been listed in the U.S.-China Working Group on Climate Change.

    About the Speaker:
    Dr. Di Zhou was granted bachelor in 1965 from the South China Industrial University and a PhD in 1984 from Kansas University. Since 1985, she has worked in marine geology and mathematical geology in the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology. She served as the Vice Director of the Institute and Chairman of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Institute, Council Member of the International Association for Mathematical Geologists, and Secretary of the International Committee of Quantitative Stratigraphy. She served as a Member of the Standing Committee and a Vice Chairman of the Committee for Population, Resources, and Environment in the Guangdong Provincial Political Consultant Committee. In 2003-2005 Dr. Zhou worked as one of the lead authors of Chapter 5 of the IPCC Special Report “Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage”. In 2006 she organized the first Clean Development Mechanism and CCS workshop in Guangdong Province. From 2009 to 2013, she led the first two research projects on CCS feasibility in Guangdong Province and since 2014 she has served as the Vice Chairwoman of the Consultant Committee of the UK-China (Guangdong) CCUS Center.