The U.S. Department of Energy has selected the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources to lead a fourth major carbon capture and storage project under the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management’s Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) Initiative.
The planned $11.2 million Williams Echo Springs CarbonSAFE project aims to conduct a storage complex feasibility study to develop a saline carbon dioxide (CO2) storage hub for current and future industries in the Echo Springs area of south-central Wyoming.
To be conducted in collaboration with midstream natural gas company Williams, the two-year study plans to permit and drill a deep stratigraphic test well and interpret the resulting data, models, and documents for further site development.
“At Williams, carbon capture is a key element to our clean energy strategy as we deploy decarbonization technology along our nationwide footprint,” says Brian Hlavinka, vice president of new energy ventures at Williams. “This project in Wyoming is a great example of a public-private partnership between the federal government, academia and the energy industry to support long-term solutions at scale.”
Expected outcomes from the study include confirming which of the six stacked formations at Echo Springs can safely, securely and economically store at least 50 million metric tons of CO2 indefinitely. The project also seeks to leverage a viable CO2 source and the existing pipeline transportation infrastructure in the region to prove its imminent viability.
“We look forward to working on this project with great partners such as Williams… Wyoming has hosted some of the most promising carbon capture and storage projects, and it will be a pleasure to work with a company that also is a forerunner in emerging technologies in the energy industry,” says Charles Nye, a Wyoming School of Energy Resources research scientist, and co-principal investigator.
Researchers in Wyoming School of Energy Resources’s Center for Economic Geology Research (CEGR) currently lead the Wyoming CarbonSAFE project at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Dry Fork Station in the Powder River Basin, the HERO Basalt CarbonSAFE project using Wyoming-sourced natural gas in Hermiston, Ore., and the Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub in southwest Wyoming.
“The CarbonSAFE Initiative is a really incredible program that has played an integral role in advancing carbon capture and storage in Wyoming… The location for this project sits within a prolific gas field and, to date, there has been limited data of the deeper geologic formations to help us understand what the entire storage potential will be for the eastern side of the Greater Green River Basin. This CarbonSAFE project will allow us to develop carbon management strategies for the eastern part of the basin. We are so grateful to DOE for its continued carbon management support,” says Fred McLaughlin, CEGR director.