With major industry players and businesses all shifting towards developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies for carbon storage, science is rushing in to help make sure everything comes together neatly and sustainably.
The geoscientists at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have set out to create fiber-optic sensors and seismic sources to help locate and assess minor faults in underground CCS facilities. One of the geoscientists involved, Jonathan Ajo-Franklin, was just recently awarded $1.2 million by the Department of Energy to adapt his lab’s distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) method for the purpose.
This is part of a total of $4 million in grants that the Department of Energy has allocated for the enhancement of safety and security of carbon dioxide storage.
The technology is necessary to prevent CO2 from being leaked from storage sites into adjacent groundwater or back into the atmosphere. According to Ajo-Franklin, the DAS technology would be a much more cost-efficient means of resolving seismic property changes.
The technology is set to be tested for its ability to spot small seismic ruptures in a subterranean geological laboratory in the Swiss Alps.
The lead scientist also explained that carbon capture and sequestration has only now become more viable with the introduction of federal tax credits over the last few years that have incentivized companies to start utilizing this technology.
Ajo-Franklin also voiced his projections that “CO2 storage could become big business in Texas” due to the large number of taped-out reservoirs.
Exxon recently announced a $100 billion carbon capture hub partnership. The carbon would be pumped into offshore and onshore locations in the Gulf of Mexico.