Navigation Links
Montana State partnership receives $66.9M for carbon sequestration

BOZEMAN -- The U.S. Department of Energy on Monday awarded $66.9 million to the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership at Montana State University to fund a project that will inject a million tons of carbon dioxide into the sandstone rock layer beneath southwestern Wyoming.

The award marks the third and final phase of federal funding for the Big Sky partnership, which is based at MSU. Approximately $14 million of the federal money will stay on the MSU campus to pay for the university's contribution to the project.

"This grant speaks to the strong science program, both research and instruction, at MSU," said MSU President Geoff Gamble, noting that the award is in line with MSU's Carnegie Foundation ranking as one of the top 96 research universities in the country.

MSU is fortunate to have the strong support of Gov. Brian Schweitzer for energy development, Gamble said during a press conference Tuesday. "He has supported our Energy Research Institute and the development of technologies related to a wide spectrum of alternative energies," Gamble said.

"This project is one of the most important things to the governor," said Eric Stern, senior counselor to Gov. Schweitzer. "We believe that this is the first step toward making Montana a major energy center," Stern said.

The award will allow the partnership to begin its Phase III project, a commercial-scale, eight-year carbon sequestration study that could begin as early as next year. That project will spend two years building infrastructure and drilling an 11,000-foot well into the sandstone rock layer west of Big Piney, Wyo. Then, during year's three through five of the project, the partnership will inject more than a million metric tons of CO2 into the underground formation.

Carbon dioxide is one of several greenhouse gases that scientists have linked to global climate change. Rather than let CO2 escape into the air, geologic sequestration injects liquefied CO2 into permeable and porous rock formations deep underground where a seal known as a cap rock keeps the CO2 permanently trapped.

The partnership's previous studies have shown that the Big Sky partnership's region -- in depleted oil and gas fields and saline aquifers -- could store more than 200 billion metric tons of CO2. By comparison, in 2005, human activity around the world produced 28 billion tons of CO2.

The Big Sky partnership will use the Phase III project to demonstrate that underground geologic formations can store large volumes of CO2 economically, safely and permanently. The project will study the site's geology before injection, monitor the injection process and monitor the site after injection.

Lee Spangler, director of the partnership and head of MSU's Energy Research Institute, said the award opens up important opportunities for the region, state and university.

"It provides the opportunity to validate carbon sequestration as one of the technologies to reduce greenhouse gases and help reduce climate change, and it illustrates the potential to use the region's vast energy resources as a path to energy independence in a climate-friendly fashion," Spangler said.

The funding will allow the partnership and MSU to test sequestration methods that are relevant to the region and develop the infrastructure, expertise and human resources needed to tackle carbon management, Spangler said.

The Department of Energy hopes that this project, and its six sister projects across the country, will provide data and know-how needed for future carbon capture and sequestration operations.

"Along with our regional partner, we will be able to move carbon sequestration technology from the laboratory to large-scale field demonstrations and ultimately to the marketplace," said Jeffrey Kupfer, deputy secretary of energy for the Department of Energy. "By doing so, we will help our nation meet growing energy demand and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The $66.9 million from the Department of Energy will pay for a sizeable portion of the $130 million project. The rest of the project's cost will be paid by industry partners, matching funds and other funding sources.

The CO2 will be donated by Cimarex Energy Company, which is building a helium and natural gas processing plant near the injection site.

Almost three dozen faculty, staff and students from MSU will be involved in aspects of the project ranging from education to project management to geochemistry, said Lindsey Waggoner, outreach coordinator for the partnership.

Founded in 2003, the partnership is one of seven regional partnerships supported by the Department of Energy. In addition to MSU, three national laboratories, half a dozen regional universities and numerous federal agencies, private companies and industrial partners comprise the partnership.

Phase I of the partnership's work involved studying the geology beneath the Big Sky region to determine its suitability and capacity for carbon sequestration and identifying human sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Phase II involves a small-scale injection of CO2 -- 1,000 metric tons -- into a pilot well near Wallula, Wash. The drilling for that injection is expected to begin in December.


Contact: Michael Becker
Montana State University

Related biology news :

1. New dinosaur species found in Montana
2. Montana State University researcher finds renewed interest in turning algae into fuel
3. Mongolian paleontologists with a dream come to Montana State University
4. Antarcticas coldest, darkest season draws Montana State University researchers
5. Low exposure to asbestos-like mineral from Montana vermiculite may up lung disease risk
6. Montana State researchers study spread of lake trout in Glacier National Park
7. Montana State University research reaches Supreme Court of India
8. Montana State University researchers map iron transport protein
9. Dinosaur diggers bring mobile lab, new techniques to Eastern Montana
10. Bird watchers, space technology come together in Montana State University study
11. Montana State researchers release guide to noninvasive carnivore research
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/2/2015)... 2015  SRI International has been awarded a contract ... services to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer ... expertise, modern testing and support facilities, and analytical instrumentation ... toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention drugs. ... Cancer Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline to ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph C. Kvedar ... technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business opportunities that ... The Internet of Healthy Things . Long before ... existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, ... moving care from the hospital or doctor,s office into ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ... that Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ... to power its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X ... --> --> Synaptics ... provide strategic collaboration in the joint development of next ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Studies reveal the differences in species ... the way for more effective treatment for one of the ... --> --> Gum disease ... cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated ... conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... in a fireside chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray ... . The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December ... .  A replay will be available for 14 ... , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ... at the following conference, and invited investors to participate ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) ... of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms that as of ... corporate developments that would cause the recent movements in ... --> About Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged ...
Breaking Biology Technology: