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John Rupp

Last modified: Thursday, May 15, 2008

Indiana Geological Survey scientists to evaluate carbon sequestration technique in large-scale tests

May 15, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana Geological Survey scientists at Indiana University will participate in a new $67 million U.S. Department of Energy project to test the feasibility of storing carbon dioxide at underground sites in Ohio and Indiana.

The evaluations are being carried out with the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, a research consortium of government, academy and industry researchers led by Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle Memorial Laboratories.


In the middle of this diagram created by U.S. Geological Survey staff, carbon dioxide is routed from its emissions source (a power plant) to various storage "reservoirs" underground. The current DOE project will look at the storage of carbon dioxide in a 3,000-foot-deep saline aquifer.

Print-Quality Photo

One million metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, will be diverted from a Greenville, Ohio, ethanol production facility for use in the study. The gas will be pressurized at the site and injected 3,000 feet underground into a saltwater-filled geological formation called the Mount Simon Sandstone. Scientists will evaluate the ability of the rock to securely contain the injected carbon dioxide. The sandstone is capped by a extensive layer of dense shale that prevents the relatively light carbon dioxide from escaping upward. Scientists also plan to evaluate the area surrounding a Duke Energy Corporation gasification power plant now being constructed at Edwardsport, Ind.

"As experts on the regional geology, the Indiana Geological Survey will support Battelle's overall evaluation of the sequestration technology by providing detailed information about the character of the reservoir rock as well as the seal," said John A. Rupp, assistant director of research for the survey, an Indiana University research institute.

The evaluation, injection and monitoring of carbon sequestration at the Ohio site will take approximately 10 years. This latest project is actually Phase III of the U.S. Department of Energy's efforts to determine whether carbon sequestration is an effective approach toward reducing anthropogenic (human-caused) carbon dioxide emissions. Phases I and II determined the location of possible carbon dioxide reservoirs and examined how some of those reservoirs handled small-scale injections of carbon dioxide, up to 10,000 metric tons. Six Phase III tests have been funded at various localities around the nation; each will evaluate large-scale -- one million tons -- storage of injected carbon dioxide.

Rupp says carbon sequestration is only part of the solution to humanity's greenhouse gas problem.

"Large fossil fuel-burning facilities can generate tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide per year," he said. "If we want to reduce anthropogenic emissions using carbon sequestration, we will have to deploy this technology on a massive scale. Ultimately we'll need to include other ways of reducing emissions."

To speak with John A. Rupp please call 812-855-1323 or e-mail