Storage Assessment R D & D

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Alberta Saline Aquifer Project (ASAP)

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.

Project Phases:

Phase 1: 2008

  • Identify 3 specific saline aquifer locations.
  • Design and cost (± 30%) a sequestration demonstration including CO2 compression and transportation.
  • Prepare preliminary application for saline lease/permit and approval for demonstration pilot.

Phase 2: 2009 - 2012

  • Construct & operate a demonstration pilot (1,000 – 3,000 tonnes/day).

Phase 3: 2013+

  • Expand to commercial operation

Project Manager:
Rocco Vita, Senior Manager,
Alternative and Emerging Technology

Big Fenn, Alberta

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.

Cassiar Tailings Mineralogy, Toxicity and Suitability for CO2 Sequestration

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.


Project Manager:
Dr. Greg Dipple
University of British Columbia

CBM/ECBM Reservoir Characterization Methodology

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.

Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI)
Alberta Research Council (ARC)
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

T& I Phase ends March 31 2008
PhD Research ends December 2009

Project Manager:
Dr. Rick Chalaturnyk,
University of Alberta

CO2 Sequestration in British Columbia

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.

British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines
University of Victoria

Duration: 2002 - 2004

Project Manager:
Dr. George J. Simandl

CO2 storage capacity of deep coal seams in the vicinity of large CO2 point sources in central Alberta and Nova Scotia

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

CO2 Storage by Mineral Carbonation Reactions: Kinetic and Mechanical Insight from Natural Analogs

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.


Project Manager:
Dr. Greg Dipple
University of British Columbia
Website: Mineral Carbonation at UBC

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CO2 Sequestration in British Columbia Coal Seams

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.

Project Manager:
Dr. Barry Ryan
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines

Fixation of Greenhouse Gases in Mine Residues

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 .

Project Manager:
Dr. Greg Dipple
University of British Columbia
Website: Mineral Carbonation at UBC

Geologic sequestration of CO2 and simultaneous CO2 sequestration / CH4 production from natural gas hydrate reservoirs

Project Objectives:

  1. Conduct a program of fundamental laboratory research to establish the porous media controls on CO2 hydrate formation in geologic media, and to investigate the thermodynamic conditions favouring the displacement of CH4 from methane hydrate by injection of CO2 .
  2. In conjunction with drilling of the 2002 Mallik International Gas Hydrate Production Research Well, conduct field investigations of the physical, geothermal, and geochemical characteristics of an existing gas hydrate-bearing reservoir.
  3. Using archived geologic data, identify and characterize a suite of candidate marine, lacustrine and Arctic reservoirs suitable for geologic sequestration of CO2.
  4. Assess the feasibility of geolologic sequestration of CO2 as gas hydrate, with respect to both terrestrial and marine reservoirs in Canada.
  5. Evaluate the feasibility of co-production of methane gas in conjunction with CO2 injection in existing natural gas hydrate reservoirs.

Duration: 4 years

Project Managers:
Fred Wright
Scott Dallimore
Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada

Hydrate technology for gas separation and CO2 capture

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.

Project Manager:
John Ripmeester,
National Research Council

Mineral carbonation in chrysotile mining waste: biological and chemical processes

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.

Hydro-Quebec Production
Bureau des changements climatiques (Environnement Québec)

Duration: 2003 - 2006

Project Manager:
Georges Beaudoin, Géo., Ph.D.
Directeur du programme de géologie
Département de géologie et de génie géologique
Université Laval

PTRC Studies on CO2 Utilization and Extraction

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.

Petroleum Technology Research Centre
Saskatchewan Research Council

Duration: 2002 - 2007

Project Manager:
Sam Huang

Wabamun Area CO2 Sequestration Project (WASP)

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.

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