The first step begins, not at the surface, but far underground, looking for the right combination of geologic materials to trap and store carbon dioxide safely in the earth.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory has compiled a Sequestration Atlas of the United States and Canada, which provides regional sequestration information for each of the seven Regional Partnerships, including the MGSC. As part of that effort, the MGSC has completed an extensive regional characterization process to identify sites that are suitable for the three types of geological carbon sequestration — coalbed storage, enhanced oil recovery, and deep saline reservoir storage. During this process, it was determined that the Illinois Basin offers:
- Storage in coal seams:
Between 1.6 and 3.2 billion metric tons of potential CO2 storage in coalbeds, and the potential recovery of between 3.0 and 10.9 trillion standard cubic feet of methane.
- Enhanced oil recovery:
Between 140 and 440 million metric tons of potential CO2 storage in depleted oil fields, and the potential recovery of between 860 million and 1.3 billion barrels of oil.
- Storage in deep saline reservoirs:
Between 12 to 161 billion metric tons of potential CO2 storage.
For additional information and more detail see:
U.S. Department of Energy Sequestration Atlas of United States and Canada, Third Edition