Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016OH508B

Co-Optimizing Enhanced Water Recovery and CO2 Sequestration in Ohio

Institute: Ohio
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $12,377 Total Non-Federal Funds: $14,928

Principal Investigators: Jeffrey Bielicki

Abstract: Generating electricity in Ohio requires a lot of water and emits a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2), due in part to the installed capacity of thermoelectric power plants that use fossil fuels and require water for cooling. Emerging constraints on the electricity sector seek to limit carbon dioxide CO2 emissions, which may be accomplished by implementing CO2 capture and storage (CCS), where CO2 is captured from power plants and injected into deep saline aquifers for storage, or sequestration, away from the atmosphere. Ohio has a considerable potential to store CO2 in the deep saline aquifers, but the CO2 capture process may require additional water and thus the amount of water that is required to generate electricity in Ohio may increase. An outcome such as this may exacerbate the medium-to-high level of water risk that covers about two-thirds of Ohio. One solution may result from the CO2 storage process itself, where brine can be produced from the saline aquifer in order to manage the buildup in pressure in the aquifer due to CO2 injection. This brine, which typically has high levels of total dissolved solids (TDS), may be treated to provide usable water via an emerging approach to CCUS—where the “U” refers to the utilization of CO2 to provide a marketable commodity—known as CO2 Enhanced Water Recovery (CO2-EWR). This proposed project seeks to investigate how CO2-EWR can be co-optimized, so that the sequestration of CO2 and the production and of usable water can be considered simultaneously, in order to reduce water stress and CO2 emissions in the most economically efficient manner. With this understanding, this proposed project could inform present and future water and energy planning, as well as public utilities commissions and regulatory agencies with oversight for subsurface injection and production of fluids (e.g., Ohio Environmental Protection Agency) on the risk, costs, and benefits of CO2-EWR.