A Short-Term Option to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Carbon sequestration offers one of the most promising opportunities for reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In fact, even under the most optimistic scenarios for energy efficiency and the greater use of low- or no-carbon fuels, geologic storage of carbon dioxide(CO2) will likely be essential if the world is to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at acceptable levels. This is not only a national initiative – focusing on viable ways to reduce greenhouse emissions – but a global one as well. In September 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the award of 11 projects worth $75.5 million to evaluate promising geologic formations for CO2 storage.
The goal of these American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects is to increase our understanding of the potential for these formations to safely and permanently store CO2. One of the awards was granted to the TriCarb Consortium for Carbon Sequestration – a group consisting of scientific, academic and government partners with a common interest in CO2 research. Partial funding is provided by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA). TriCarb will explore a geologic region known as the Newark Basin – a sequence of sedimentary and igneous rock that underlies parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The centerpiece of TriCarb’s study will be a test boring in the northern end of the Newark Basin in Rockland County, New York. TriCarb scientists will examine and test geologic characteristics of the rock down to depths of 5,000 to 8,000 feet using state-of the art investigative techniques and tools for coring, logging and sampling rock and formation fluids. There are no plans to sequester CO2 at the drilling site during this research phase or at any time in the future. However, this assessment will result in a better understanding of geology factors that will determine whether large-scale CO2 storage in deep strata of the Newark Basin may eventually be feasible.