Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

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New Funding for EFRC–NCGC

Source:  Krys Avina and Dan Hawkes

This past week (June 18, 2014), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz was pleased to announce an award of $100 million for a second round of funding to DOE Energy Frontier Research Centers—to “accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build the 21st century energy economy.” As stated in the announcement, 32 projects “were competitively selected from more than 200 proposals. Ten of these projects are new while the rest received renewed funding based both on their achievements to date and the quality of their proposals for future research.”

Among those ongoing funded projects is the LBNL Center for Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2 (NCGC), directed by former ESD Director Don DePaolo, now the Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences. The NCGC award was for $12.8 million over four years. Pursuing its ongoing objective—to characterize and understand nanoscale to pore-scale processes, features, and effects that control the trapping of carbon dioxide in subsurface rock formations—NCGC is focused, for this round of funding, on producing advanced predictive models that will greatly improve confidence in subsurface carbon dioxide trapping processes at the nano, meso-, and macroscales.

ESD has been robustly involved in NCGC and will be even more so in the future. The NCGC Executive Committee includes ESD’s Jonathan Ajo-Franklin, Carl Steefel, and Ian Bourg. Participation over the next four years from ESD geochemists, geophysicists, and hydrogeologists is expected to be extensive.

To read more about the announcement, go here:

To read further about EFRC, go here:

To read further about NCGC, go here

Figure 1: Schematic illustration of key short- and longer term trapping processes that must operate to ensure quantitative storage of injected CO2 for >1000 years (Benson and Cook, 2005)
Figure 2: Processes and issues relating to the evolution of fractures in shale. Leakage through fractures is one of the primary questions pertaining to the reliability of shale formations for stratigraphic trapping of CO2 , especially over the first 50-100 years after the start of injection (Zoback and Gorelick, 2012; Juanes, et al., 2012).

Funding Source: BES, EFRC-NCGC