A Data-Driven Approach for the Development of a Decision Making Framework for Geological CO2 Sequestration in Unmineable Coal Seams

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

In today's energy constrained world, carbon capture and sequestration can play an essential role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, while simultaneously maintaining a robust and affordable energy supply. This technology is an end-of-pipe solution that does not contribute to a decrease of the production of greenhouse gases, but is very useful as a transition solution on the way towards other sustainable energy production mechanisms.

This research involves the development of a comprehensive decision making framework for assessing the techno-economic feasibility of CO2 sequestration in unmineable coal seams, with the Central Appalachian Basin chosen for analysis due to the availability of empirical data generated through recent characterization and field validation studies. The studies were conducted in order to assess the sequestration capacity of coal seams in the Central Appalachian Basin and their potential for enhanced coal bed methane recovery.

The first stage of this research involves assessment of three major sequestration performance parameters: capacity, injectivity, and containment. The assessment is focused on different attributes and reservoir properties, characteristic of deep unmineable coal seams in the Central Appalachian Basin. Quantitative and qualitative conclusions obtained through this review process are used later in the identification of the minimum set of technical information necessary for effective design and development of CO2 storage operations.

The second section of this dissertation analyzes economic aspects of CO2 sequestration. This segment of the research uses a real options analysis to evaluate the impact of major sources of uncertainty on the total cost of developing and operating a CCS project in a regulatory environment that expects implementation of carbon taxes, but with uncertainty about the timing of this penalty.

Finally, all quantitative and qualitative information generated in the first two stages of this research were used for development of a decision making framework/matrix that summarizes the interactions between major technical and economic parameters and constraints, on the other hand, and their impact on overall feasibility of CO2 sequestration in unmineable coal seams. This framework will provide user with capability to address complex problems in a more systematic way and to analyze the most efficient way to utilize available resources.

CO2 Sequestration, Unmineable Coal Seams, Decision Making