Project creates jobs, leads to clean coal


COLUMBUS – A Tuscarawas County site has been selected for a $2.3 million project to measure Ohio’s capacity for deep well storage of carbon dioxide emissions.
First step. This method, known as carbon dioxide sequestration, is the first step toward making clean coal technologies a reality in Ohio. Deep wells will allow carbon emitted in the clean coal production process to be stored beneath the earth’s surface so that it doesn’t contribute to global warming.
The deep well test site, approximately 2 miles northeast of Port Washington in Salem Township, was selected by a team of scientists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Battelle Memorial Institute.
Potential. The deep well will gather critical geological data on the region’s ability to store or “sequester” carbon dioxide emissions far underground. If this deep well confirms favorable conditions for carbon dioxide sequestration, it could lead to future industrial development in the region.
The state budgeted approximately $2.3 million from general revenue and clean coal research funds for drilling, testing, data analysis, and reporting on the project.
Developing ways to manage these emissions in an environmentally responsible way will position Ohio to attract and retain the kinds of high-tech industries targeted in the Turnaround Ohio initiative.
ODNR, Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Columbus, and the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority are pioneering carbon dioxide sequestration research in Ohio.
Postive example. “This is a great example of how economic development and the wise use of our resources can be compatible goals,” said Sean D. Logan, director of ODNR. “Projects like this enable us to use our natural assets to create the greatest benefit for the most people for the longest possible time.”
Current studies show that Ohio is well situated for deep well projects because of natural rock layers that might safely store and seal quantities of carbon dioxide once the gas is captured and injected in the ground.
This test, called the Ohio Stratigraphic Borehole (Ohio Strat Test), will require geologists to drill to a depth of 8,600 feet to look for porous rock layers that would hold carbon dioxide in much the same way oil and gas deposits remain trapped for millions of years underground.
Once the well is drilled, scientists will take specific physical measurements of the rock layers, especially their porosity, permeability, chemistry and ability to accept injected fluid.
Project has begun. Planning for site access is already under way. Drilling is scheduled to begin between April and July, with testing conducted for several months after that. The entire project, including analysis of the data that is gathered, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008.
The project will have little impact on local residents during the drilling and testing. There are no residences within a quarter-mile radius of the site. There will be a temporary increase in truck traffic along state Route 36, while the drilling rig and related equipment are transported.

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