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DOE awards UND’s EERC $15 million to continue carbon storage research

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The Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota is one of only two organizations nationally selected to run a second phase of a project to study the benefits of active reservoir management (ARM) in carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects. And the center will get more than $15 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct that research.

EERC was one of five organizations originally selected from a national pool to conduct phase one of the ARM research. Phase one consisted of feasibility studies and project designs for ARM techniques, says John Hamling, principal engineer at EERC. Phase two funding was awarded to only two organizations of those five, based on their phase one work. “It was competitive,” Hamling says. “We had a great site and a great team.”

ARM is a concept gaining more attention for its potential to improve CCS. Essentially, it produces brine, or saltwater, from a geological horizon into which carbon dioxide is being injected. In theoretical studies using computer modeling and software, ARM has shown it has the potential to better manage formation pressure, help control the footprint of the injected fluids and help improve the injection process, Hamling says.

The ARM concept occurs in every enhanced oil recovery project as it’s being implemented, Hamling says. “However, the difference is for enhanced oil recovery, oil is being produced and subsequently being sold and transported away from the site.” For CCS applications, the produced fluid is not oil, but high-salinity water. Finding ways to treat and move that brine means it could be used in beneficial applications, he says. “You’re able to get rid of that produced fluid and send it to essentially a market for CO2 storage applications.”

The EERC test bed for this research will evaluate next-generation brine treatment, testing low-quality brines to help researchers learn the fundamental knowledge of the process they’ll need to develop a useful technology for widespread implementation. “So it’s looking at these next-generation technologies that can, ultimately, hopefully, come to market and provide some value in treating low-quality brines,” Hamling says

Read the Full story written by Lisa Gibson an published by Prairie Business

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