On Tuesday and Wednesday, January 28th and 29th, 2020, GCCC co-hosted the 5th University of Texas Conference on Carbon Capture and Storage (UTCCS-5) with the Texas Carbon Management Program (TxCMP).

More than 100 participants attended UTCCS-5, including this dinner talk by Dr. Varun Rai, director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.

Download the program here.

More than 100 participants joined the UTCCS-5 to learn about the latest updates from the University of Texas at Austin experts on carbon capture and storage.

Representatives from CCS groups at Battelle, Baker Hughes, BHP, BP, ExxonMobil, JX Nippon (Petra Nova), Shell, Oxy, Total, Trimeric, USGS, DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, Environmental Defense Fund, Clean Air Task Force, and others attended.

Participants joined either the carbon capture track organized by the UT Chemical Engineering Department and Dr. Gary Rochelle. Or the geological storage track, organized by GCCC. The storage track focused largely on the geological applications, infrastructure, and stakeholder relations within the CCS process.

The first day of the storage track was dedicated to presenting project updates on GCCC’s 5-year Big Plan which describes our research group’s aspirations for the forward-looking direction of cutting-edge research, guided by the need to upscale CCS to a commercial level. GoMCarb results were also shared. The day ended with a tour of the carbon capture demonstration plant on the UT Austin’s J.J. Pickle Research Campus (photos below).

During the second day, presentations continued, working through the various tasks in the Big Plan. Afterward, a couple of hours were devoted to closed session discussions with GCCC Industrial Associates, answering questions and receiving feedback on what remains ahead in research in order to push CCS towards wide adoption within energy industries.

The University of Texas Conference on Carbon Capture and Storage takes place every other year in conjunction with the biannual GCCC Industrial Associates meeting. This is the fifth iteration of the conference.

View a list of the presenters and their talks below.


Contact research program coordinator, Emily Moskal (emily.moskal@beg.utexas.edu), for access to the presentation slides.

Day 1, Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Welcome, Gary Rochelle and Susan Hovorka

Plenary: Meeting the Dual Challenge, Jane Stricker and Susan Blevins

Leslie Savage, Texas Regulatory Environment for CCS

Benjamin Heard, Gulf Coast Sequestration

Ramon Trevino and Alex Bump, Progress in the Gulf of Mexico

Tip Meckel, Addressing Subsurface Aspect of Large-Scale CCS

Susan Hovorka, Cost of Characterization to Prepare for Permitting

Katherine Romanak, International Engagement

Rachel Lim, Stakeholder Challenges and Perspectives

Emily Moskal, Dialogue in the CCUS Ecosystem

Seyyed Hosseini, GCCC New Projects

Darshan Sachde, Overview of CO2 Capture, Transport, and Infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico

Katherine Romanak, Environmental Field Studies

Tip Meckel, Status and Plans for Offshore Monitoring

Ramon Gil-Egui and Vanessa Nunez-Lopez, The Impact of 45Q and Stacked Storage in the CO2-EOR Sustainability

Vanessa Nunez-Lopez, Fluid Flow Research in Collaboration with Imperial College London

Sahar Bakhshian, Prediction of CO2 Footprint: A Hybrid Pore-Scale Simulation and Analytical Modeling

Varun Rai, CCS…It’s Time!

Day 2, Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Larry Lake, The Effect of Compressibility and Boundaries on Displacement Stability

Shayan Tavassoli, CO2 Storage in Gulf Coast Saline Aquifers and Pilot Case Study of Wellbore Leakage Mitigation for CO2 Storage Projects

Xiaojin Zheng, Zhuang Sun, D. Nicolas Espinoza, Uniaxial Strain Unloading Compressibility of Frio Sand: Implications on Reservoir Pressure Management for CO2 Storage

Prasanna Krishnamurthy, CO2 Migration and Trapping in Heterogeneous Porous Media

Seyyed Hosseini, Analytical Models of Plume Migration and Stabilization

Jiro Tanaka, Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project: Project Update

Susan Hovorka, Monitoring Needs: Well Surveillance and Plume Stabilization

Susan Hovorka Presenting Curt Oldenburg and Lehua Pan’s Work, Mechanistic Modeling of CO2 Leakage into the Water Column from Offshore CO2 Wells or Pipelines

Susan Hovorka, Discussion with Sponsors

  • From December 2nd to the 15th, 2019, representatives from almost 200 nations met in Madrid, Spain to smooth out the tangled details of global climate action at the 25th UNFCCC Climate Change Conference (COP25). Negotiations ended on Sunday and there’s been a lot of media talk of whether the outcomes justified the extra time commitment—this year’s talk became the longest-running in the annual meeting’s 25-year history, ending two days late—or were impactful enough to move the dial on global greenhouse gas emissions toward net-zero by 2050.

    GCCC insider and research scientist Katherine Romanak, traveled again this year to the COP to address delegates and other scientists with input into how to tackle global emissions reductions. Romanak said that “You may have heard that the negotiations went badly,” Romanak said. “It’s not all that bad, because they still have until next year to get it right. They would rather continue negotiations and get a quality agreement than agree on something that might not work as well.”

    The Paris agreement has many goals. Two of the most important are to provide climate response transparency across countries and to encourage commitments to increase nationally determined contributions. The agreement calls for a “balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of the century.”

    GCCC research has shown that a significant sink to keep carbon dioxide (CO2)—one of the largest contributors to temperature change—away from the atmosphere is in underground rock layers, similar to the natural geological trapping of fluids and gases. The space in offshore continental margins alone could offset all of the world’s 2019 emissions.

    Carbon capture and geologic storage could account for roughly 13% reduction of total emissions according to the International Energy Agency, using estimates from the IPCC’s two-degree scenario which limits average global temperature change to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels—used as the benchmark for the Paris agreement.

    This year’s COP was largely about refining the Paris agreement’s Article 6. Article 6 aims to support countries to meet their emissions reduction goals through voluntary international cooperation (trading carbon credits, for example).

    Some COP history: COP25 prepares for COP26 when the Kyoto protocol will be replaced by the Paris agreement. Last year in Poland, parties agreed on the “Paris Rulebook” which outlined all the aspects of the Paris agreement except for Article 6 which is mostly about market mechanisms, cooperative approaches, accounting, and transparency. All paths lead to one end goal: to increase countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (the amount each country will decrease their greenhouse gas emissions). The term “increased ambition” is increasingly being used because, at this moment, the NDCs are not enough to limit warming to 2C or even to 1.5C. So countries will need to up their pledges to emissions reductions.

    One big question that Romanak has for CCS and other mitigation strategies in the Paris agreement negotiations, specifically for carbon credit trading, is the issue of permanence.

    “In the CCS world we are made to show permanence for thousands of years,” Romanak said. At these negotiations, there is talk about nature-based solutions like storing carbon in soils, plants, or through better land-use practices. But with climate change altering natural patterns, forest fires becoming larger and more common, and the potential for land-use practices to be abandoned over time, they remain uncertain.

    Weather patterns like rainfall and moisture are anticipated to change in unpredictable ways. Deep under the Earth’s surface, unaffected by the sun’s rays and the atmosphere, carbon can be assured to be stored much longer.

    Given this logic, Romanak asks, “With this discrepancy should a carbon credit gained through CCS be equal to a credit gained through agriculture?” If not done right, these rules could actually hinder the emissions reduction by not weighing the benefits of each mitigation strategy proportionally.

    For COP25, Romanak again co-organized, since CCS became a recognized technology within the UNFCCC in 2011, the only official CCS side event at the COP. This year’s presentation was titled, “Carbon Removal and Return: Can CCS Decarbonize Industry in South America and Help the Oceans?”

    A recording of the official side event is available (for a limited time) at: https://bit.ly/2DLVgsa
    View a summary of the presentations here: enb.iisd.org/climate/cop25/side-events/4dec.html#event-4

    Romanak discussed monitoring, safety, and technology transfer, addressing common questions related to each. Other panelists included Tim Dixon (IEAGHG), Carol Turley (Plymouth Marine Laboratory), Jan Wilcox (Worcester Polytechnic), Andrew Jupiter (University of the West Indies), Beth Hardy (International CCS Knowledge Centre), Piera Patrizio (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), and Keith Whiriskey (Bellona). Topics included: the IPCC Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere, direct air capture with CCS, developing a national program in Trinidad and Tobago, decarbonizing cement, BECCS sustainable jobs, and low-carbon infrastructure. The Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) also helped support the event.

    Romanak also presented in a CO2 Capture Project event (BP, Chevron, Petrobras) focused around CO2 storage regulations. Her talk was on monitoring for demonstrating CO2 storage permanence. As well as at the Japanese event Saving Our Beautiful Planet with CCS (Part 2)”, which was organized by Japan CCS Co, METI and NEDO in the Japan Pavilion. Yoshihiro Sawada gave a great presentation showing why nearby earthquakes near a CO2 injection site in Tomakomai were not caused by the injection nor did they disturb the injection.

    Some new reports were released with fanfare:

    And some new projects were revealed:

    • Occidental is planning a large-scale direct air capture (DAC) facility in Texas by 2023 that will capture 1 MMT per year. Their plan is then to have 11 more of these in the construction phase by 2024 in order to gain 45Q credits. They plan to use Carbon Engineering’s potassium hydroxide-based technology. Presenters suggested that DAC can de-risk a project because it can be moved and adapted to new facilities as others age. This flexibility of DAC lowers investment risk.
    • The Western States Petroleum Association will soon publish an atlas on storage capacity in California with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Supposedly in order to meet their net-zero target, California will need to store 100 MMT per year through CCS.

    GCCC hopes to play a part in these projects in some way. GCCC, and Romanak particularly, is committed to assist scientists and leaders in Trinidad and Tobago to develop an atlas of carbon storage opportunities in the nation as well as capacity building if funded through one of the international development banks currently supporting low-carbon development.

    And like all good conferences, Romanak said she came out a changed person. She was lucky enough to sit two rows behind Greta Thunberg as she gave her plenary talk. You can watch the plenary here.

    The global climate talks will resume next year in Glasgow, Scotland. GCCC researcher Katherine Romanak expects to be there to again provide her technical expertise to push the US and developing countries forward in their action to meet climate commitments with CCS. GCCC has one big piece of the puzzle. Negotiators, policymakers, and business leaders will need to act fast.

    Contact Katherine Romanak for more information on assisting international and developing countries to develop and meet their emissions targets using CCS. Read a press release about GCCC’s partnership with Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Find out about the latest in geologic carbon dioxide storage and sequestration. 
    Follow us on Twitter @GulfCoastCarbon

    Dr. Timothy “Tip” A. Meckel
    Senior Research Scientist
    Expertise: Geologic characterization, structural geology, monitoring design, and pressure evolution for CO2 injections

    Interplay between Capillary and Buoyancy Forces During Immiscible Displacement in Heterogeneous Porous Media
    Monday, 9 December 2019
    13:40 – 18:00
    Moscone South – Poster Hall
    (with GCCC PhD student Prasanna Krishnamurthy)

    Use of high-resolution 3D marine seismic for overburden monitoring at the Tomakomai CO2 storage project, Hokkaido, Japan
    Wednesday, 11 December 2019
    17:38 – 18:00
    Moscone South – 159, Upper Mezz.

    Dr. Seyyed A. Hosseini
    Research Scientist
    Expertise: Multiphase fluid flow in porous media

    Hydrogeological Modeling and Pore Pressure Characterization of Delaware Mountain Group in the Delaware Basin, Texas and New Mexico (non-CCS related)
    Friday, 13 December 2019
    08:00 – 12:20
    Moscone South – Poster Hall

    (See below for other sessions and posters co-hosted by Dr. Hosseini)

    Dr. Sahar Bakhshian
    Research Associate
    Expertise: Pore-scale fluid flow simulations

    Understanding Pore-Scale Mechanisms of Fluid Flow in Porous Media: Modeling and Experimental Approaches | Posters
    Monday, 9 December 2019
    13:40 – 18:00
    Moscone South – Poster Hall
    (with Dr. Seyyed Hosseini)

    Pore-scale study of spontaneous imbibition in fractured rocks using the lattice Boltzmann method
    Wednesday, 11 December 2019
    13:40 – 18:00
    Moscone South – Poster Hall
    (with Dr. Seyyed Hosseini and GCCC undergraduate researcher Margaret Murakami)

    Modeling of convective carbon dioxide dissolution in porous media: from pore to Darcy scale
    Friday, 13 December 2019
    14:10 – 14:25
    Moscone West – 3018, L3
    (with Dr. Seyyed Hosseini and previous GCCC postdoc Dr. Baole Wen)

    Dr. Alexander Sun
    Senior Research Scientist

    (Find all sessions, including non-CCS research, here. Two below are co-hosted with GCCC postdoc Dr. Zhi Zhong.)

    Adversarial Learning for Subsurface Flow and Transport Modeling Wednesday, 11 December 2019
    08:00 – 12:20
    Moscone South – Poster Hall

    A Deep Learning Based Approach for the Dynamic Reservoir Property Changes Estimation by Using Time-lapse Seismic Data
    Wednesday, 11 December 2019
    08:00 – 12:20
    Moscone South – Poster Hall

    Real-Time Monitoring of CO2 Plume During GCS with Integrated Continuous Active-Source Seismic and Pressure Monitoring Data
    Wednesday, 11 December 2019
    08:00 – 12:20
    Moscone South – Poster Hall

    Download this list to print below: