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University receives $19 million to monitor carbon storage project
Date:6/28/2010

The University of Texas at Austin will receive up to $19 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and NRG Energy to design and oversee a monitoring plan for a carbon capture and storage demonstration project in southeast Texas.

The project will demonstrate advanced technology to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from a coal-fired power plant.

This project will be among the first in the state of Texas, and one of only a handful in the world, to use anthropogenic CO2 as opposed to naturally occurring CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). EOR is a technique that involves injecting CO2 into declining oil fields to increase oil yield. The objective of this project will be to ensure the long-term geologic storage of the injected CO2.

"It's exciting because for the first time in Texas, we'll be storing CO2 captured from industrial processes that would otherwise have gone into the atmosphere," said Rebecca Smyth, principal investigator at the Jackson School of Geosciences' Bureau of Economic Geology.

The Department of Energy has selected NRG Energy, one of the nation's largest electric power providers, to receive up to $167 million of funding (some of which will be from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to build a post-combustion CO2 capture demonstration unit at the company's WA Parish power plant southwest of Houston. NRG will invest an additional $167 million in the project. A portion of the CO2 from WA Parish's emissions will be scrubbed, transported to a nearby oil field and injected deep underground for EOR and long-term storage.

The Bureau of Economic Geology's Gulf Coast Carbon Center will subcontract with NRG to monitor the CO2 during and after injection.

"Our goal is to demonstrate that the injected CO2 stays where they put it," said Smyth.

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Contact: Marc Airhart
mairhart@jsg.utexas.edu
512-471-2241
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

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