Saturday, November 10, 2012

CO2 sequestration potential of the Tucson basin

AZGS has published an evaluation of the potential for carbon dioxide storage - geologic sequestration - in the Tucson basin.

The Department of Energy (DOE), including its National Energy Technology Laboratory and Western Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB), have established national programs to evaluate the technical feasibility of long-term subsurface geologic storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by industrial activity, primarily coal-fired power plants and cement plants. The WESTCARB is a consortium of seven western U.S. States and one Canadian Province that is one of seven regional North American partnerships established to evaluate technical aspects of high-volume CO2 capture and sequestration.

AZGS is evaluating the potential for CO2 sequestration in geologic formations that are below a level of 800 meters (m) (2,625 feet (ft)) depth below land surface (bls). This evaluation is directed at porous and permeable geologic formations with impermeable sealing strata in Cenozoic sedimentary basins in the Basin and Range Province, and Paleozoic sedimentary formations of the Colorado Plateau.  An initial screening of Cenozoic sedimentary basins with significant depth and volume below the 800 m (2,625 ft) bls level resulted in 10 candidate basins from a total of 88 basins.

EPA has declared CO2 as a pollutant, and utility companies and cement producers among other industrial sources of CO2 will need to find cost-effective measures to capture and store or process the gas if a carbon tax or other restrictions are placed on its production.  Geologic sequestration is viewed as having potential to dispose of large volumes of the gas.

Citation: Gootee, B.F., 2012, Geologic Evaluation of the Tucson Basin for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Potential. Arizona Geological Survey, Open-File Report OFR-12-40, 11 p., 2 appendices, 3 plates.

[portions of this post are excerpted from the report summary]


  1. Anonymous9:25 AM

    What does this mean for wells in the X9 Ranch area in Vail AZ?

  2. If you are asking would happen to water wells if CO2 was injected into deep geologic units, the answer is that the CO2 would need to go into horizons more than 2,000 feet deep so the pressure would be enough to keep it liquified, and it would only be done where a geologic cap rock exists to trap the CO2 in the deep unit.

    But there are currently no plans for even testing the idea, let alone actually geologically sequestering the CO2 in this area.