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Enhanced Coal Bed Methane Recovery and CO2 Sequestration

This report summarizes work done at Idaho National Laboratory in support of Phase II of the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership. Research that elucidates the interaction of CO2 and coal is discussed with work centering on the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana. Sorption-induced strain, also commonly referred to as coal swelling/shrinkage, was investigated. A new method of obtaining sorption-induced strain was developed that greatly decreases the time necessary for data collection and increases the reliability of the strain data. As coal permeability is a strong function of sorption-induced strain, common permeability models were used to fit measured permeability data, but were found inadequate. A new permeability model was developed that can be directly applied to coal permeability data obtained under laboratory stress conditions, which are different than field stress conditions. The model can be used to obtain critical coal parameters that can be applied in field models.

An economic feasibility study of CO2 sequestration in unminable coal seams in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming was done. Economic analyses of CO2 injection options are compared. Results show that injecting flue gas to recover methane from CBM fields is marginally economical; however, this method will not significantly contribute to the need to sequester large quantities of CO2. Separating CO2 from flue gas and injecting it into the unminable coal zones of the Powder River Basin seam is currently uneconomical, but can effectively sequester over 86,000 tons (78,200 Mg) of CO2 per acre while recovering methane to offset costs. The cost to separate CO2 from flue gas was identified as the major cost driver associated with CO2 sequestration in unminable coal seams. Improvements in separations technology alone are unlikely to drive costs low enough for CO2 sequestration in unminable coal seams in the Powder River Basin to become economically viable. Breakthroughs in separations technology could aid the economics, but in the Powder River Basin, they cannot achieve the necessary cost reductions for breakeven economics without incentives.

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Last Updated October 31, 2018, 06:43 (EST)
Created October 31, 2018, 06:43 (EST)
Citation Robertson, E., Enhanced Coal Bed Methane Recovery and CO2 Sequestration in the Powder River Basin Topical Report. Deliverable Gd10. 2010, Montana State University: Bozeman, MT. p. 33
Netl Product yes
Poc Email William.Aljoe@NETL.DOE.GOV
Point Of Contact William Aljoe
Program Or Project DE-FC26-05NT42587 Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership Phase II