August 25, 2009
Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project awards nearly $2 million to study carbon sequestration in China
Stanford University's Global Climate and Energy Project has initiated an international collaboration with the University of Southern California (USC), Peking University (PKU) and China University of Geosciences at Wuhan (CUG) to address fundamental issues associated with large-scale sequestration of carbon dioxide in saline aquifers in China.
A saline aquifer is a subsurface geologic formation that has certain characteristics that could allow it to store significant amounts of carbon dioxide.
The Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) is awarding close to $2 million for this research.
"China and the U.S. are the world's largest emitters of carbon dioxide – and both rely heavily on coal to produce electricity," said Sally Benson, director of GCEP. "We are very excited to support this unique collaboration between three outstanding research institutions in China and the U.S. that could advance technologies for providing reliable electricity supplies while reducing global carbon emissions."
The new three-year program integrates geological modeling, reservoir simulation and laboratory experiments to identify the best scientific approach for developing safe and secure methods for storage of carbon dioxide in saline aquifers in China.
Dongxiao Zhang, a professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering's Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is directing the 39-person team of scientists, researchers and students from USC, PKU and CUG. Qingdong Cai, professor of mechanics and engineering science at PKU, and Yilian Li, professor of environmental studies at CUG, are the co-directors of this effort.
"Through the generous support from GCEP, this research is investigating the fundamental issues associated with carbon sequestration in Chinese saline aquifers," said Zhang. "We believe such understandings could help guide similar sequestration efforts worldwide."
This new effort brings the total number of GCEP-supported research programs to 66, with funding of $87.4 million committed since the project's launch in the fall of 2002.
With the support and participation of four international companies, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Schlumberger and Toyota, GCEP explores the science that could lead to energy technologies that are efficient, environmentally benign and cost effective when deployed on a large scale.
"Spearheading this international collaboration among leading Chinese and U.S. researchers to study new potential avenues for carbon sequestration is a key milestone for GCEP," said Ashok Belani, chair of the GCEP Management Committee and chief technology officer of Schlumberger Ltd.