GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF ALABAMA
CARBON SEQUESTRATION RESEARCH
Greenhouse gas emissions from anthropogenic sources, such as coal-fired power plants, have increased significantly since the industrial revolution and are considered to be a driving force behind global climate change. Carbon dioxide has been identified as one of the most important gases driving this change, and research around the globe is directed toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the effects of global warming.
Sequestration of carbon dioxide in geologic formations has high potential for offsetting the effects of global climate change. The most promising geologic sinks for sequestration include saline aquifers, mature oil and gas reservoirs, and coal. Saline aquifers have high storage capacity and are available for sequestration in most sedimentary basins. Injection of carbon dioxide in mature conventional oil and gas reservoirs has been proven to increase petroleum recovery, thus prolonging the life of oil and gas fields and contributing to economic development and energy security. Similarly, injection of carbon dioxide into unmineable coal seams has potential to increase coalbed methane reserves substantially.
The southeastern United States accounts for about 40 percent of the nationŐs carbon dioxide emissions, and Alabama ranks 9th among all states. The state has a diversity of prospective geologic sinks, including saline aquifers, mature oil and gas reservoirs, and coal. Accordingly, the Geological Survey of Alabama has maintained an active research program in carbon sequestration since the year 2000. This research includes assessing the potential of geologic formations, identification of risks associated with geologic sequestration, and the implementation of sequestration technology. Research activities have spanned the full range of potential geologic sinks in Alabama and are now being conducted as part of the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB). Alabama is a leader in coalbed methane production, thus coal research forms the hallmark of the SurveyŐs sequestration program.
Detailed assessment of the carbon sequestration potential of coalbed methane fields in the Black Warrior basin (2000-2003). Principal sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Database and GIS development for potential geologic sinks in the Black Warrior and Gulf of Mexico basins in Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle (2004-2005). Principal sponsors: Southern States Energy Board and U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Field verification test for carbon sequestration and enhanced coalbed methane recovery in coal of the Black Warrior basin of Alabama and assessment of sequestration potential in coal-bearing strata of the Alabama thrust belt (2005-2009). Principal sponsors: Southern States Energy Board, Virginia Tech, and U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Development of stochastic reservoir modeling software and application to coalbed methane reservoirs in the Black Warrior basin of Alabama (2005-2008). Principal sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Major Sponsors and Partners