Carbon Capture and Storage in Alberta

October 14, 2010 :: Don Lawton
Moderated by Duane Pendergast

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) involves capturing CO2 from point-source surface facilities and injecting it into subsurface geological formations, particularly depleted oil and gas reservoirs, unmineable coal seams and deep saline aquifers. It is a key technology being considered and implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. In 2008 the government of Alberta committed $2B to accelerate CCS in the province, with the goal of having four CCS projects operating by 2015, each storing about 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Current targets are to have 50 million tonnes of CO2 stored in geological formations annually by 2020 and 139 million tonnes annually by 2050.

Of paramount importance to CCS is the ability to track the injected CO2 plume in the storage formation and to verify safe and permanent storage of the CO2. These goals are vital for public acceptance of CCS particularly during early projects as the technology becomes implemented at commercial scale. A comprehensive range of technologies exists for monitoring CO2 injection and storage but continued research and development is being undertaken for next generation technologies. Current Alberta CCS projects and aspects of monitoring research will be discussed in this presentation.

Speaker: Don C. Lawton, Ph.D., P. Geoph.

Don Lawton is a Professor of Geophysics and Chair in Exploration Geophysics in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. He previously served as Head of the Department from 1997 to 2002. His research interests include geological storage of CO2, acquisition, processing and interpretation of seismic data, and integrated geophysical and geological studies in the Rocky Mountain Foothills. He is an Associate Director of the Consortium for Research in Elastic Wave Exploration Seismology (CREWES) and was recently appointed Theme Lead in Secure Carbon Storage for Carbon Management Canada, a $25M National Centre of Excellence. He is involved in research for a number of carbon capture and storage projects in Alberta.

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