UNIS CO2 Lab: Large reservoir identified

UNIS CO2 Lab: Large reservoir identified

Top image: UNIS professor in geology and UNIS CO2 Lab principal investigator Snorre Olaussen (left) and UNIS CO2 Lab manager Ragnhild Rønneberg are excited about the reservoir findings in Adventdalen. Photo; Eva Therese Jenssen/UNIS.

After several water injection tests at the lab site in Adventdalen, the scientists in the UNIS CO2 Lab have concluded that there is a substantial reservoir in the bedrock for CO2 deposit. Now the research company wants to inject CO2 into the reservoir to test it further.

10 May 2013
Text and photos: Eva Therese Jenssen / UNIS

The UNIS CO2 lab has so far drilled six deeper wells out in Adventdalen over the past couple of years. The wells’ depths vary between 190 m and 970 m. The water injection tests over the past couple of summers have provided more detailed information about the reservoir.

– We know that the reservoir is quite substantial, says Ragnhild Rønneberg, manager at the UNIS CO2 Lab and UNIS CO2 Lab principal investigator, professor Snorre Olaussen.

– An estimation is that the reservoir can hold approximately 1,2 million tons of liquid CO2. This estimation equals the expected CO2 output from the local power plant for a 20 year period, they says.

In addition, the research done so far shows that the reservoir is tight, sealed with cap rocks and shale, making it ideal for CO2 storage.

Rønneberg points out that the reservoir capacity estimation is still uncertain and therefor the research Lab wants to inject smaller amounts of CO2 in the wells to be able to make a more thorough estimation of the deposit capacities.

The UNIS CO2 Lab wants to deposit up to 200,000 tons of CO2 in the reservoir over a period of 10 years. In order to do so, the company must have a permit from the local authorities, which will be applied for shortly.

Needs CO2 for tests
The main challenge is to acquire CO2 for the test injections. Several options are open and one of them is to capture CO2 from the local power plant. However, as the plans for a redesigned CCS-based power plant is still under debate, another option is to run a diesel-fueled small-scale power plant at the test site, where CO2 can be captured and then deposited into the reservoir.

Another option is to import CO2 from the mainland, however, this option is perhaps the least environmental-friendly alternative and as such the last resort.

In the coming months the UNIS CO2 Lab will produce a budget for the CO2 testing phase, in order to attract both existing and new funding partners.

Important pilot project
– Our research will close some more knowledge gaps on CO2 storage. The UNIS CO2 Lab and the test site in Adventdalen can provide new cutting-edge research which is both important for the local society but also facilitate new technology that can be exported out in the world, according to Rønneberg.

– In order to further strengthen the CCS knowledge in Europe and elsewhere, a pilot size on storage as the one we have in Longyearbyen is important and valuable – both research wise and as demonstration on how CO2 and the ground properties will interact, Rønneberg concludes.


The UNIS CO2 Lab well park in Adventdalen. Photo: Eva Therese Jenssen/UNIS.

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