The project is part of a major international effort to understand and broadly apply the approach of carbon sequestration in subsurface geological reservoirs that would provide a just transition to capturing air emissions from the generating station, and injecting them for long-term storage.
The goal of the project is to determine whether permanent geologic sequestration of CO2 gas in saline aquifers near the plant is feasible. The aquifers under consideration contain water with such a high saline content (close to that of seawater) that it is not useful for other purposes. The high saline content in the water will also serve to dissolve the injected CO2 gas. Research and analysis on a test well planned for April 2021 will determine whether the permeability of the rock, the absorbability of the saline water, and the impermeability of the capstone indicate potential for Class VI certification of a commercial well. Successful results would lead to the construction of wells sufficient to hold all the CO2 captured from a retrofit San Juan plant. Past work by New Mexico Tech allowed the project to start at Phase III of the DOE process. The project is one of five carbon capture, utilization and sequestration projects across the nation selected for funds as part of DOE’s extension of FOA 2058.
Catalyst is responsible for NEPA compliance for the entire project, following both DOE and CEQ guidance. Numerous other partners, including Enchant Energy of Farmington, New Mexico, Schlumberger, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories will all provide their expertise to the project.