Central Appalachia Phase I

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Under Phase I, the Central Appalachian coal seam research team, led by the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (Virginia Tech) and Marshall Miller & Associates, conducted regional characterization of the coalbeds, located favorable areas to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2), and quantified the CO2 storage capacity and associated enhanced coalbed methane (ECBM) recovery potential within southwestern Virginia (Figure 1-1).

CO2 sequestration capacity values for coal seams have been calculated by processing and assimilating net coal thickness, coal rank, coal isotherm, and other related coal reservoir data. Factors such as historical deep mining and currently permitted mine areas for the Pocahontas No. 3 seam have been taken into account in the calculations, as carbon dioxide cannot be effectively sequestered in mined locations. Ideal areas for sequestration have been identified in mature coalbed methane (CBM) production areas within Buchanan and Dickenson Counties, Virginia.

Carbon dioxide’s attraction to coal is approximately twice that of methane (natural gas). Carbon sequestration has the potential to increase methane production from coal seams, by displacing methane that otherwise may not be produced. Theoretically, carbon dioxide molecules will be preferentially adsorbed onto the coal surface, thereby releasing methane gas and boosting CBM production. The cost of implementing CO2>/sub> sequestration technologies could be offset by enhanced CBM recovery.

Figure 1-1: Conventional Gas, Oil and Coal Bed Methane Wells in Southwestern Virginia