Consol Energy (NYSE: CNX) and the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER) at Virginia Tech University announced a joint research project on carbon storage alternatives being explored by the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
The project will test the potential of unmineable coal seams to store carbon dioxide (CO2). Consol will donate the three coalbed methane wells in the Pocahontas and Lee formations, and drilling will range from 900 to 2,200 feet in depth. Up to 20,000 tons of CO2 will be injected into the seams.
A comprehensive plan to monitor the injected CO2 has been established by VCCER and NETL. The current test is part of an effort funded by NETL for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects that aim to use the captured CO2 to produce more oil or natural gas from an existing field and store the remainder that prevents its release into the atmosphere. The pilot project is expected to begin in the fall of 2013.
The injection will be performed during a one-year period and builds on another injection test that took place in nearby Russell County, Va. in 2009.
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