Saturday, August 1, 2009

Storing carbon underground can have unintended consequences

From Greenpeace - "FALSE HOPE

One of the key challenges for CCS is the safe and permanent storage of captured carbon. Even very small leakage rates could completely undermine any climate mitigation efforts.

The world has no experience of the long-term storage of anything, let alone CO2.
As the results of a 2006 United States Geological Survey (USGS) field experiment1 show, there is every chance that carbon dioxide will behave in ways that are totally
unexpected. The USGS scientists were testing deep geological disposal of carbon dioxide at a pilot project in Frio, Texas.

The researchers were surprised when the buried CO2 dissolved large amounts of the surrounding minerals responsible for keeping it contained. The CO2 reacted with salty water (brine) in the geological formation turning it as acidic as vinegar. This acidified brine then dissolved other minerals, including metals such as iron and manganese, organic material and relatively large amounts of carbonate materials. Carbonates naturally seal pores and fractures in geological sites; the reaction of the acidic brine with them is extremely concerning. Carbonate is also found in the cements used to plug abandoned oil and gas wells. If these open, CO2 could leak into the atmosphere and/or the contaminated brine could leak into the aquifers that supply drinking and irrigation water.

In an interview with Greenpeace, lead scientist Yousif Kharaka warned that the results are “a cautionary note: for detailed and careful studies of injection sites, and a well thought out monitoring program to detect early study show that we simply do not know enough about how stored carbon will behave to be able to assure its safe and permanent storage.

1 Kharaka Y K, Cole D R, Hovorka S D, Gunter W D, Knauss K G & Freifeld B M, ‘Gas-water-rock interactions in frio formation following CO2 injection:
Implications for the storage of greenhouse gases in sedimentary basins’, Geology, vol., 34, no. 7, 2006, pp. 577–580.
2 Kharka, Yousif, 2007, USGS, Research Hydrologist, Interview conducted over e-mail.

Ohio Earthquakes - Two point of views

Battelle has a report about Injection- Induced Earthquakes
ISSUES RELATED TO SEISMIC ACTIVITY INDUCED BY THE INJECTION OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE AQUIFERS - it says the Anna fault earthquakes happen at 10 kilometers or deeper - this link also talks about the effect of supercritical CO2 on geology

This next link to the OhioSeis site (The Ohio Seismic Network ) - it says earthquakes in Ohio happen at a depth of 3 - 6 miles ...... which is much closer to the depth of the proposed injection well for our area.

Both of these articles are worth reading

Injection Induced Earthquakes - NE Ohio

Camp, Mark J.; Roadside Geology of Ohio; Mountain Press, Missoula, Montana, 2006 , 411 pp.

Northeast Ohio Earthquakes page 315

A Jesuit priest, Reverend Frederick L. Odenbach, set up the first seismograph in Ohio in Cleveland in 1900. It was one of the first in the United States. Ohio was not a center of earthquake activity, but seven weak to mild shocks had struck Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lake Portage, and Summit Counties in the 1800’s. Father Odenbach’s pioneering work allowed researchers to record about a dozen moderate quakes during the 1900’s. The most notable quake in the area, however, occurred much later, on January 31, 1986, southeast of Painesville. It registered about 5 on the Richter scale. Two people suffered minor injuries; items fell off store shelves in Chardon, Mentor, and Painesville; windows and plaster walls cracked; and area well water reportedly changed color and taste. Portable seismographs placed around the area the day after the main quake recorded at least thirteen aftershocks as high as 2.4 Richter magnitude. The great interest in this quake was probably related to the fact that a nuclear power plant operates in nearby Perry.

Small faults are common in Devonian-age rocks in northeastern Ohio. Other, more ancient ones lie more than a mile below the surface in Precambrian rocks. All these faults experience periodic adjustments, caused by the release of stress or pressure in the subsurface, which are recorded as earthquakes at the surface.

On January 25, 2001, a quake registering 4.6 magnitude rattled the Ashtabula area. This was only one of dozens that had shaken the area since 1987. Injection of waste fluids down a 6,000-foot-deep well into the Cambrian Mt.Simon sandstone from 1987 to 1993 has been linked to this seismic activity. The injected fluids seep along cracks in the sandstone, leading to slips along faults. The faults have been there for hundreds of millions of years and have just come to life in recent years because of artificial lubrication.

Mark J. Camp has a PhD in geology from The Ohio State University.

Bold italics by Jane Staley

NETL Report - April 2009 MRSCP TAME Project - Greenville, OH


This site is very well done.......

"The National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographical Information System (NATCARB) started as a joint project among the State Geological Surveys of five midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, and Ohio). The project was later expanded to include the seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships and a prototype to integrate databases for terrestrial carbon sequestration with databases on geologic sequestration.

The purpose of NATCARB is to assess the carbon sequestration potential in the United States and to develop a national Carbon Sequestration Geographic Information System (GIS) and relational database covering the United States and parts of Canada. This digital spatial database allows users to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by sources (such as power plants, refineries and other fossil fuel consuming industries) in relation to geologic formations that can provide safe, secure sequestration sites over long periods.

The objectives of this project are to:
• Develop a national carbon sequestration geographic information and relational database management system covering the U.S. and operating through a portal maintained by the National Energy Technology Laboratory website.
• Develop online tools to provide real-time display and analysis of CO2
sequestration data.


The NATCARB map server is active and currently running on the internet, and can be utilized by accessing the following web address: Reliable communication among the various servers has been established, and tools have been developed to query, display, and analyze CO2 source, sink, and transportation data.
Tools allow clients to query and plot emissions or production through time for a single source or a combination of sources across a region. Tools are also available
to determine the solubility or physical properties of CO2 under various conditions.
Not only is the NATCARB server connected to all seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships but data on states not included in any of the Partnerships has been entered into the database. To provide national coverage, data in real- time is being pulled from public servers including the U.S. Geological Survey’s Center for Earth Resources Observation & Science (USGS-EROS) and from the Geography Network. Major CO2 sources have been obtained from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency databases, and data on major coal basins and coalbed methane wells was obtained from the U. S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency. Though it is available through the NATCARB site, the databases are stored and managed by the Regional Partnerships.

NATCARB intends to generate high quality national sale maps and begin development of a new version of the Carbon Sequestration Atlas of the United States and Canada."

University of Kansas
West Virginia University
Kansas State University
The state geological surveys in:
Illinois, Indiana, Kansas Kentucky, and Ohio
The DOE Regional CO2 Partnerships

Cost Total Project Value
DOE/Non-DOE Share
$4,548,688 / $1,386,048

Department of Energy and NETL Web Sites

DOE and NETL web sites, and those of their seven Carbon Sequestration Regional Partnerships, have a wealth of information on all aspects of CCS. These sites can be accessed directly or through and NETL’s Sequestration Roadmap can be found on
DOE/NETL’s National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographical Information System (NatCarb) is especially valuable and can be accessed through The seven Carbon Sequestration Regional Partnerships web sites can be accessed directly:
 Big Sky Partnership (Big Sky) at
 Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) at
 Midwest Regional Partnership (MRCSP) at
 Plains Partnership (PCOR) at
 South East Partnership (SECARB) at
 South West Partnership (SWP) at
 West Coast Partnership (WESTCARB) at
USCSC educational papers on CCS can be accessed at