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Energy Department Invests $10.7M in Technologies that Assess Subsurface Stress for Carbon Storage

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) selected five projects to receive approximately $10.7 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development. The projects will advance tools and methods for assessing the state of stress and geomechanical impacts within the subsurface associated with underground carbon storage. The projects are supported through the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001826, Developing Technologies to Advance the Understanding of State of Stress and Geomechanical Impacts within the Subsurface.

Selected projects are funded by FE’s Carbon Storage Program, which advances the development and validation of technologies that enable safe, cost-effective, permanent geologic storage of carbon dioxide (CO2). These projects will provide tools for measuring, estimating, and understanding underground stress impacts that may occur in carbon storage activities. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the selected projects, which are summarized below:

Area of Interest 1: Tools and Methods for Determining Maximum Principal Stress in the Deep Subsurface

1. Refining Principal Stress Measurements in Reservoir Underburden in Regions of Induced Seismicity through Seismological Tools, Laboratory Experiments, and TheoryElectric Power Research Institute, Inc. (Palo Alto, CA) will develop methodologies to measure in-situ principal stress in the deep subsurface through use of multiple independent seismic methods, laboratory verification, and theoretical framework.  

DOE Funding: $2,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $500,000; Total Value: $2,500,000

2. A Non-Invasive Approach for Elucidating the Spatial Distribution of In-Situ Stress in Deep Subsurface Geologic Formation Considered for CO2 StorageBattelle Memorial Institute (Columbus, OH) will develop and demonstrate a method that improves the measurement of in-situ principle stresses in the deep subsurface. The methodology will determine the spatial distribution of the magnitude and orientation of principle in-situ stresses in the deep subsurface, including near and far from the wellbore; test the method at one or more field sites considered for hosting CO2 sequestration and defining performance limits on uncertainty and spatial resolution that can be achieved with the method; and improve state-of-the-art methods for determining in-situ stresses.

DOE Funding: $1,996,326 Non-DOE Funding: $502,369; Total Value: $2,498,695

3. Development of Thermal Breakout Technology for Determining In-Situ StressRE/SPEC Inc. (Rapid City, SD) will develop a thermally induced borehole breakout technology to improve in-situ stress measurements. The tool will include acoustic emission sensors to determine the onset of breakout behavior and locate the source of emissions around the hole.

DOE Funding: $3,130,155; Non-DOE Funding: $2,484,534; Total Value: $5,614,689

Area of Interest 2: Methods for Understanding Impact of Vertical Pressure Migration Due to Injection on State of Subsurface Stress

4. Identification of Faults Susceptible to Induced Seismicity:Integration of Forward and Joint Inversion Modeling, Machine Learning, and Field-Calibrated Geologic ModelsBoard of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Urbana, IL) will apply advances in seismic modeling and fault detection to the Illinois Basin Decatur Project dataset to gain a better understanding of the causes of induced seismicity and will advance the development of a methodology to evaluate comparable sites for potential induced seismicity.

DOE Funding: $2,097,751; Non-DOE Funding: $524,443; Total Value: $2,622,194

5. Boosting Reliability of the State of Stress Characterization and Prediction in CO2 Storage Reservoirs Using Machine Learning and Integrated Geomechanics and Geophysical MethodsNew Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (Socorro, NM) will develop a framework to boost the reliability of characterization and prediction of the state of stress in the overburden and underburden in CO2 storage reservoirs using machine learning, as well as integrated geomechanics and geophysical methods.

DOE Funding: $1,502,263; Non-DOE Funding: $393,091; Total Value: $1,895,354

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research and development projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced fossil energy technologies and further the sustainable use of the Nation’s fossil resources. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit the Office of Fossil Energy website or sign up for FE news announcements. More information about the National Energy Technology Laboratory is available on the NETL website.