Battelle began the third phase of injection in 2013 and, in conjunction with Core Energy, is monitoring, verifying and accounting for the CO2 being used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the depleted oil fields of Michigan’s Northern Reef Trend.

The practice of using carbon dioxide to recover oil uses a closed-loop process to access the fossil fuel that would otherwise be left behind, maximizing existing oil fields. One million cumulative metric tons of CO2 stored is equivalent to removing 214,000 passenger vehicles for one year, or the amount stored by 1.2 million acres of forest in one year, Battelle said. As a result of this CO2 injection, more than $70 million of economic benefit has been added to the local economy in jobs, goods and services, and taxes, based on the significant volume of oil that has been produced — oil that would otherwise have been left behind.

Additionally, there has been significant scientific knowledge gained. The project developed novel approaches for using CO2 in fields that were in different stages of their production life cycles, from initial flooding to late-stage. The MRCSP tested state-of-the-art techniques to track the CO2 and quantify the amount that is retained in the formation after the oil is removed. These data can be used to further optimize CO2 storage and energy production in other areas. MRCSP will continue to collect field operational data and deploy advanced monitoring technologies to characterize and simulate the CO2 storage, retention and enhanced oil recovery processes across the test locations.

“Battelle is proud to lead the MRCSP,” said Neeraj Gupta, principal investigator for the MRCSP. “This public-private partnership has allowed us to apply cutting edge science in practical real-world settings. This project is one of several that demonstrates that CCUS can be done safely, cost-effectively, and for the larger societal benefit.”

The MRCSP comprises a 10-state region that is home to more than 25% of the U.S. population and generates roughly $4.62 trillion in gross regional product. It produces almost 25% of all electricity generated in the country — more than half of that by burning coal. The MRCSP is one of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships in the United States established by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).