Carbon-storage project to advance ECBM recovery

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Engineers in Australia and China are collaborating on a project to store 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide underground in Shanxi Province.

CSIRO and China United Coalbed Methane (CUCBM) have embarked on the joint demonstration project that will also seek to extract methane for use as an energy source.

According to CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, the project will focus on advancing enhanced coal-bed methane (ECBM) recovery and providing a pathway to adoption for near-zero emissions technology from coal-fired power.

ECBM involves the injection of CO2 into coal seams to displace methane that can be used to generate energy, while storing CO2 underground.

Director of CSIRO’s Advanced Coal Technology research, Dr John Carras, said the ECBM project will trial new approaches to maximise CO2 injection and methane recovery.

‘ECBM wells are typically drilled vertically to inject CO2 into coal seams, but this demonstration project will drill horizontally, meaning the entry point of the well is more directly embedded in the coal seam, which we predict will increase the flow rate of CO2 for underground storage,’ said Dr Carras.

‘CUCBM’s expertise in drilling practices and methane extraction will combine with CSIRO’s capabilities in coal characterisation, reservoir modelling, carbon-dioxide monitoring and storage assurance to develop techniques that maximise both CO2 storage and methane recovery rates.’

The ECBM demonstration project builds on CSIRO’s existing collaborations with China, which include supporting the launch of a post-combustion capture (PCC) pilot plant in Beijing and the first capture of CO2 in China using PCC technology.