Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership
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DOE Techline: Regional Partner's Decision Support System Used in Development of Carbon Management Plan for Industry
August 21, 2009

Plan will be Used to Determine the Best Strategies for Carbon Capture and Storage

Morgantown, W. Va. --- The Plains CO 2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership, one of seven members of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program, has used its Decision Support System (DSS) to assist in preparing a carbon management plan for Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Energy Project. The plan examines potential options for managing the project’s carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions as a strategy for addressing climate change issues.

The PCOR partnership’s DSS is a web-based geographic information system that contains estimated storage capacities of regional geologic carbon sinks. The system allows partners to browse, query, analyze, and download data regarding CO 2 storage in the PCOR partnership region, which covers all or part of nine states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin) as well as four Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba).

Most of the characterization information that is used for a carbon management plan can be inspected through the DSS, which contains tools for the interactive data analysis of the PCOR partnership region, with both text- and map-based approaches. This information--as well as regulatory issues, pipeline transportation of CO 2, carbon markets, and monitoring, verification, and accounting requirements--was included in the Mesaba carbon management plan.

The DSS was created from information gathered during phase I (characterization) and phase II (validation) of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program. The program is a government--industry effort that is determining the best approaches for capturing and storing greenhouse gases in different regions of the country. The program is managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

For the Mesaba Energy Project, Excelsior Energy and ConocoPhillips will construct and operate an integrated gasification combined cycle power plant with an initial nominal capacity of 600 megawatts. While a carbon management plan was not required, Excelsior’s management anticipated that the plant would be operating in a carbon-constrained world and so decided that developing such a plan would be prudent to help identify a strategies for adapting to changes in climate change policy. The Mesaba Energy Project was a round 2 selection under the Energy Department’s Clean Coal Power Initiative.

The DSS developed by the PCOR Partnership is expected to have many applications throughout the PCOR Partnership region. The Mesaba carbon management plan is just one example of applied use of the DSS and its usefulness to interested parties in the region.

Since its inception in 2003, the PCOR Partnership has brought together more that 90 partners comprising public agencies, utilities, oil and gas companies, engineering firms, associations and nonprofit organizations, and universities. Led by the Energy & Environment Research Center at the University of North Dakota, the PCOR Partnership is currently conducting two large-scale tests for its Phase III development activities and four storage validation tests for Phase II.

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Joe Culver, DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory, 304-285-4822, newsinfo@netl.doe.gov