Illinois State Geological Survey Receives a U.S. Department of Energy Grant for an Energy Frontier Research Center


The Center for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), which will be led by Robert J. Finley at the Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute, will work to reduce uncertainties surrounding CO2 storage by objectively analyzing early results from current field demonstrations. Ultimately, the project seeks to spotlight potential “showstoppers” for real-world, commercial-scale CO2 storage projects.

The center has received funding for four years and involves a number of academic and not-for-profit research partners, namely, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, NORSAR (Kjeller, Norway), SINTEF (Trondheim, Norway), the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin, Wright State University, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Each is vital to the success of the project, which will uniquely link staff members whose expertise is in basic science with those who have experience applying current industry technology at the management, engineer, and scientist level.

“The Center for Geologic Storage of CO2 will build on our applied CO2 injection projects by focusing on new models of reservoir-seal geologic storage systems to help reduce uncertainty in our knowledge of such systems,” Finley said. “Our objective is to advance understanding of the basic science that will improve the safety and effectiveness of subsurface carbon storage.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) awards are geared toward accelerating the scientific breakthroughs needed to build the 21st-century energy economy. This is the second round of funding for EFRCs, and research supported by this initiative will enable fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and environmental mitigation.

The funded projects were selected from more than 200 proposals. Ten are new, whereas the rest received renewed funding based on their achievements to date and the quality of their proposed future research. Awards range from $2 million to $4 million per year per center for up to four fiscal years, subject to a progress review in the second year.