What is the NRAP Initiative?
The National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) has joined international efforts to develop the risk assessment tools needed for safe, permanent geologic CO2 storage. NRAP members include five national DOE laboratories that have been conducting collaborative research for the Office of Fossil Energy’s Carbon Sequestration Program for many years: NETL, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
NRAP receives input from industry, government, non-government organizations, and academia regarding research needs for large-scale CO2 storage deployment. The NRAP collaboration also keeps abreast of international developments by participating in collaborations like the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas Research and Development Programme’s Risk Assessment Network.
The primary objective of NRAP is to develop a defensible, science-based methodology and platform for quantifying risk profiles at most types of CO2 storage sites to guide decision making and risk management. NRAP will also develop monitoring and mitigation protocols to reduce uncertainty in the predicted long-term behavior of a site.
To assist in effective site characterization, selection, operation, and management, NRAP is considering potential risks associated with key operational concerns, as well as those associated with long-term liabilities. Operational issues include the management of reservoir pressure and stress to avoid conditions that might induce seismic activity. Issues associated with long-term liabilities include groundwater protection and storage permanence to avoid CO2 leakage.
Proposed Research, Expected Benefits
The primary objective of National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) is to develop a defensible, generalized, and science-based methodology and platform for quantifying risk profiles at CO2 storage sites, and to then apply and extend those tools and applications to understand how assessed risks can be managed, if needed, through mitigation and other engineering interventions, and how uncertainties in assessed risks can be reduced through strategic monitoring, conformance evaluation, and iterative improvement of site characterization and system-wide performance prediction. The methodology must incorporate and define the scientific basis for assessing residual risks associated with long-term stewardship of CO2 storage sites, and help guide site operational and regulatory decision-making and risk management. Development of an integrated, strategic, risk-based monitoring and mitigation protocol is part of the NRAP objective; this protocol and related monitoring design tools will help to reduce uncertainty in the predicted long-term behavior of the site and thereby increase confidence in storage integrity.
In Phase II of the NRAP project, researchers will apply NRAP risk assessment methodologies and predictive tools to field demonstration sites to test and validate their utility in a real-world setting and identify areas of focus for further methodology and tool development – particularly with respect to risk management and uncertainty reduction. To that end, key Phase II efforts will include the following thrusts: