Sequestration 101

Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing carbon dioxide created from energy generation and other human activities — before it is released into the atmosphere — and storing it safely underground.

Geological sequestration stores carbon dioxide underground in the pore spaces of rock formations that already contain water, brine, oil, and/or natural gas. In fact, injecting CO2 into coal seams and mature oil fields can help extract coalbed methane and oil that would otherwise be left in the ground, helping to offset the cost of carbon sequestration.

Different types of sequestration
There are three different types of sequestration. Oceanic sequestration stores carbon dioxide at the bottom of the ocean; terrestrial sequestration stores carbon in soils, crops, and other plants; while geological sequestration stores carbon underground in coal seams, saline reservoirs and oil reservoirs.

Our task at the MGSC is to explore the three different types of geological sequestration options, all of which are possible within the Illinois Basin.

Five steps in the right direction.

While it only takes a few short seconds to release the carbon stored in coal and oil into the atmosphere, the process required to return it to the ground is a bit more complex. From start to finish, there are five essential steps required to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it safely underground.

1. Characterization
2. Capture
3. Transport
4. Storage
5. Monitoring

Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium
Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium
Advanced Energy
Technology Initiative

University of Illinois
615 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820