MichCarb is a recently established center (fall of 2009) for research and education related to Geological Carbon Sequestration in Michigan. It is funded by the Department of Energy. We will be posting resources and links to resources from reputable scientific activities on this site.
.......or is it Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)???
.......or Geological Carbon Sequestration (GCS)???
...and just when I thought I knew all of the names for it, another one was created! Apparently the proper term is now CC&SGS or Carbon Capture and SAFE Geological Storage!!! On this webpage we will use one of the old terms, Geological Carbon Sequestration or GCS.
All of those labels are correct and they all describe the same process - capturing the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, from a "source" such as a power plant, before it is released into the atmosphere and injecting it into appropriate rock formations underground - these rocks are called carbon "sinks". Remember that science has shown us that the greenhouse gases that we release into the atmosphere are contributing to climate change and this is just one method of helping to reduce their accumulation in the atmosphere.
So where do you think the carbon dioxide is going to end up when we put it underground? Is it filling in layers that were full of water, like rivers running underground? Filling caverns in the rock? The diagram above might lead you to believe that.
Actually, most of the space available for carbon dioxide is in tiny, sometimes microscopic, spaces in rocks called pore spaces. [To learn more about porous rocks check out these three downloadable, printable posters: (porosity poster 1) (porosity poster 2) (porosity poster 3)].The blue layer in the diagram above actually represents rock with water in the pore spaces and the black areas that look like pockets actually represent rock that contains oil in the pore spaces. Not all rocks have these pore spaces in them, so only certain types of rocks are good candidates for GCS. In Michigan we have rocks that hold great potential as GCS reservoirs. This is because the rocks deep beneath our feet have a unique history. Carbon dioxide can be stored or sequestered in depleted oil or gas reservoirs, uneconomic coal beds, deep saline aquifers, and salt caverns.
Scientists at WMU's MGRRE study the rocks deep beneath Michigan in order to determine which formations might be good targets for GCS. We partner with the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP), which is one of seven regional partnerships established by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL) to study carbon sequestration as one option for mitigating climate change. To learn more about GCS go to the Midwest Region Carbon Sequestration Partnership website.
Please check back again – we have more resources on the way.
Enhanced Oil Recovery
Much of what scientists now know about GCS comes from the experience of the oil industry. Oil companies have been using carbon dioxide injected into oil wells to push more oil up to the surface since 1972. This is called enhanced oil recovery or EOR. Scientific American published an article on EOR in April 2009 and the U.S. Department of Energy has another good article.
Injection well design
For photos of a Michigan well being injected with carbon dioxide go to the MRCSP website at http://126.96.36.199/MichiganBasin.aspx.