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Second Phase of CO2 Testing Scheduled for Hancock County Research Well

LEXINGTON, Ky. (September 29, 2009) − With the recent announcement of a new grant from the U. S. Department of Energy, a second phase of testing is now planned for the 8,126-foot-deep carbon dioxide (CO2) research well in rural Hancock County by the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) and a consortium of private partners.

The new phase was made possible by a DOE grant of $4.8 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the University of Illinois and several partners, including KGS, to do further evaluation of the CO2  sequestration potential of deep geologic formations that underlie  much of the Midwest.  The grant to KGS includes about $1.6 million for CO2 injection, data collection, and modeling.  Several new tasks are important to the research:

The sub grant to KGS includes $495,200 for the additional injection and about $1.1 million for the analyses, data and modeling work. KGS and its partners plan to complete the field portion of the work the summer of 2010, and further studies will continue through 2011.
In August of this year, 323 tons of CO2 were successfully injected into the well to test the technical feasibility of sequestering CO2 deep underground in western Kentucky. The ability of deep rock formations to accept and permanently store CO2 is an important element of DOE’s program to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. These developing technologies are intended to significantly reduce the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere from use of fossil fuels, including coal-burning electricity generation plants.

The non-profit Western Kentucky Carbon Storage Foundation (WKCSF) was created in 2008 by Peabody Energy, ConocoPhillips, and E.ON U.S. and provided the majority of the funding along with other assistance for the first phase of this research. The group will continue to support the second phase of research through contributions of data and funding. In addition, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Illinois Office of Coal Development and Marketing, and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory provided funding for the first phase of the Hancock County work.

The Hancock County project is one of four program areas which were mandated by legislation passed in the 2007 special session of Kentucky’s General Assembly.