The Western Business Roundtable is praising the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Utah Science, Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) and several private sector companies for helping to fund in Utah the largest single carbon dioxide sequestration project of its type ever attempted.
"This public-private partnership approach is precisely what we need more of in the west in order to tackle the huge challenge of development and deploying effective and affordable carbon management technologies," according to Martin L. Shultz, chairman of the Western Business Roundtable's Energy Committee and vice president of Government Affairs for Pinnacle West Capital Corporation.
"This effort shows that government funding, properly targeted, can leverage significant private sector funding and expertise in accelerating these cutting-edge technologies," he said.
The pilot project will inject carbon dioxide (CO2) into mile-deep saltwater-filled sandstone formations under an area called Farnham Dome near Wellington, 130 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. Such "carbon sequestration" pilot projects are critical to helping the region understand if and how CO2 from industrial processes and power plants can be stored underground instead of released into the atmosphere.
DOE has committed $67 million to the project, which will be the largest single project of its type in the world, according to USTAR. In addition, other companies and organizations are also working on the project, including: Questar Gas, Rocky Mountain Power, Savoy Energy, Blue Source, Pure Energy Corp., Utah Geological Survey, Navajo Nation and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
The project promises to prove the viability of terrestrial sequestration of CO2 across a vast stretch of the western U.S. where various geological basins hold a large storage potential. USTAR has estimated these basins may be able to store up to 100 years' worth of CO2 emissions from major sources.
The project will involve compressing CO2 until it is nearly liquified and then injecting it into porous layers about one mile beneath the surface. It is thought that these storage basins are "capped" by a nearly impervious layer of shale.
Shultz added that this initiative "highlights the leadership being shown by companies and organizations in the western U.S. in developing and deployment of new energy and carbon management technologies."