The Alberta Saline Aquifer Project (ASAP) is an industry initiative being led by Enbridge Inc. to identify deep saline aquifers in Alberta that could be used in a carbon sequestration pilot project. As a true collaborative effort, so far 33 companies are participating in the first phase of the project. Saline aquifers are underground formations containing brine or salt water that is not suitable for agricultural purposes or for drinking. Once suitable aquifers have been identified, carbon dioxide will be injected into the deep formations, and the integrity of the process will be closely monitored.
Phase 1: 2008
Phase 2: 2009 - 2012
Phase 3: 2013+
Big Fenn was one of Alberta Research Council's CO2 Enhanced Coal Bed Methane Projects. ARC is a global leader in CO2 coal bed methane recovery (ECBM), where CO2 is injected into deep, unmineable coal beds, releasing the trapped methane and permanently storing the CO2 underground.
The project will evaluate the efficacy of natural carbonation reaction involving atmospheric CO2 and serpentine mine tailings at Cassiar as a potential natural analogue for commercial CO2 sequestration. It will also determine the amphibole content of the tailings. Fibrous amphibole can cause asbestosis. Even small quantities in the tailings would complicate handling of the tailings, detrimental to its use in commercial CO2 sequestration. It is a collaborative project between the University of British Columbia and the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines.
This academic study has a field and laboratory component. This project will examine, sample, and analyze the tailings pile at Cassiar to determine if carbonation is proceeding in the natural environment, and document the source of crystallographically bound CO2 .
Depending on future funding and industry interests, this preliminary study may lead to demonstration or commercial research project(s).
Complete consumption of the tailings pile would sequester approximately 8 million tonnes of CO2 , but the technological requirements of conversion are not yet known.
Dr. Greg Dipple
University of British Columbia
This proposed research program will develop a detailed reservoir characterization methodology directed at hydromechanical categorization of coal seams. The methodology is aimed at understanding, identifying, and quantifying the key hydromechanical properties controlling primary coalbed methane recovery (CBM), enhanced coalbed methane recovery (ECBM), and geological CO2 sequestration in coalbeds.
T& I Phase ends March 31 2008
PhD Research ends December 2009
Dr. Rick Chalaturnyk,
University of Alberta
The project incorporates a review of CO2 sequestration and storage technologies. Preliminary review of potential CO2 sinks and of major point sources, essential for any informed decision-making regarding CO2-storage in BC, is also part of this study. Characterization of ultramafic rocks for mineral carbonation is currently underway. It is a collaborative project between British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines and the University of Victoria. Depending on possible future collaboration with NRCan, this scooping study may lead to demonstration or commercial research project(s). The study has a field and laboratory component. Part of the laboratory work related to mineral carbonation will be carried out in collaboration with the Albany Research Center (USA). The study fills gaps in the existing data, which is required to do informed decision-making about CO2 sequestration in BC and possibly elsewhere in Canada. The cost and storage capacity could be incorporated into follow-up studies.
Duration: 2002 - 2004
Dr. George J. Simandl
Utilization of the many oil and gas well intersections of deep coal seams to determine the distribution, thickness and depth of deep coals; to determine reservoir properties including pressure and temperature and through experimentally derived CO2 adsorption isotherms, to determine the in place storage capacity expressed as megatonnes/square kilometer.
Duration: 1997 - 2003
Website: Geological Survey of Canada
This project examines geologic analogs to mineral carbonation reactions to assess the feasibility of permanently storing CO2 in subsurface magnesium silicate rocks. Project outcomes include establishing the mechanical and hydrologic consequences of mineral carbonation reactions, documenting reaction paths and mechanisms, and constraining the timing and rates of carbonation reaction in bedrock CO2 alteration systems. Field site is Atlin, northwest B.C. Laboratory work undertaken at the University of British Columbia.
This project collects coal samples from a number of coalfields in British Columbia and analyzes them for CO2 isotherm. For each sample, CO2 adsorption on coal, influence of coal rank and petrography on CO2 adsorption, and influence of temperature on CO2 adsorption are studied. The final report is an initial study of the CO2 sequestration potential for coals in British Columbia.
The study includes sampling and CO2 isotherm analysis on samples collected. Results are documented in a research paper.
This project is completed.
Dr. Barry Ryan
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines
This academic project will examine the feasibility of storing atmospheric CO2 in historical and active mine residues. Research conducted at the University of British Columbia and mine sites in B.C., the Yukon and the N.W.T.
The study involves fieldwork and sampling, laboratory and experimental analysis, and geochemical modelling. It will examine the rates and processes of natural fixation of atmospheric CO2 in a variety of mine residues.. Depending on future funding and industry interests, this preliminary study may lead to demonstration or commercial research project(s).
Storage capacity is dictated by the size of mine residues. Average size mining operations could sequester hundreds of thousands to millions of tonnes of CO2 .
Duration: 4 years
Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada
The objective of this project is to develop a new approach to gas separation using hydrate technology. The main aim will be to capture CO2 from flue gas, although other separations also are possible, and precombustion applications (CO2/H2 separation).
Hydrate technology has long been considered a way of separating gases. This is due, in part, to the very high gas holding capacity of hydrates (a volume of hydrate can capture ~ 160 volumes of gas at STP), water as a cheap working fluid, and the modest energy requirements for hydrate formation/decomposition. However, processes using hydrate technology have been developed to the pilot plant stage only rarely (eg methane hydrate formation for natural gas storage and transport), as several steps are unfavourable – reactions kinetics are slow because of the need for mixing the relatively insoluble gas with water, and the need to separate the product hydrate from free water. We have now shown that by dispersing water on a porous medium the reaction can be carried out in a reactor without agitation or liquid-solid separation, that the reaction kinetics and hydrate yield are improved considerably and that the separation efficiency is similar to that for the reaction in a stirred reactor containing bulk water.
National Research Council
This small-scale fundamental research project investigates carbon sequestration in chrysotile mining and milling residues, in Eastern Townships. Biologically mediated spontaneous carbonation, autoclave experiments of mineral carbonation using real waste materials and various pre-treatment approaches, by-product metal recovery and cost analysis. There are 700 Mt of CO2 storage capacity in mine and mill residues in Eastern Townships.
Duration: 2003 - 2006
Georges Beaudoin, Géo., Ph.D.
Directeur du programme de géologie
Département de géologie et de génie géologique
Researchers at the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (Regina, Sask.) are developing technologies to promote the storage of carbon dioxide (pure or extracted from waste flue gas) through its use as an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) agent. Prime objectives are: to improve the performance and economics of CO2 floods; to extend the applicability of CO2 injection from light/medium oil reservoirs (such as Weyburn); to fields containing heavier oils to expand the potential sources of CO2 . This project will address several areas where technology gaps exist, such as: application of cyclic gas injection (huff-n-puff) to waterflooded oil reservoirs; immiscible CO2/flue gas injection in thin heavy oil reservoirs (a majority of Saskatchewan's reservoirs); optimization of gels and gel placement techniques to control CO2 conformance to improve sweep efficiency and thus expand reservoir storage volume; identification of mechanisms of CO2 oil recovery enhancement and sequestration formation of clathrate hydrates to isolate CO2 from flue gas.
Duration: 2002 - 2007
Alberta’s energy industry is partnering with top researchers from the University of Calgary on the largest-scale geological study in Canadian history for the permanent underground storage of millions of tonnes of industrial greenhouse gases.
Duration: The WASP study will be completed by the summer of 2009.