Unconventional Rocks are Attractive Carbon Sinks
Unconventional rocks (shales, mudstones, and coals) occur widely, underlying about 75% of the world’s land mass. This distribution provides a range of jurisdictional, regulatory, and sovereign risk options for carbon sequestration projects focused on unconventional rocks.
Additionally, power generation and heavy industrial plants are typically located close to unconventional rocks for fuel. Those same plants continue to produce substantial carbon dioxide emissions.
Depending on how quickly emissions from these sources are reduced, society needs to sequester between five gigatons and twelve gigatons of carbon dioxide per year over the next thirty years.
For reference, in 2020, only about 0.04 gigatons were sequestered. Unconventional rocks have the capacity to hold significant levels of carbon dioxide – much more than is necessary to mitigate climate change.
We believe that these distributed, lower intensity carbon sinks enable carbon sequestration on a massive scale with lower regulatory, capital, transportation, and infrastructure barriers, leading to faster project implantation, lower costs, and lower project risk.
Unlocking Unconventional Rocks
Previous efforts to sequester carbon dioxide in unconventional rocks used conventional high pressure, concentrated gas sequestration approaches. Those approaches damaged the unconventional rocks and limited their ability to smoothly flow gases and liquids. Our method uses a gentle sequestration approach, mirroring the one used by nature, that preserves rock integrity and allows careful management of carbon dioxide sequestration levels. An attractive side benefit of this approach is that it does not require concentrated, high pressure, nearly pure streams of carbon dioxide, which allows us to avoid some of the most expensive steps in carbon capture and reduce overall carbon management costs.
How It Works
We capture carbon dioxide in water at relatively low pressures and then drop the water into unconventional rock formations. The carbon dioxide is preferentially absorbed by the rock’s nanopores as the water flows through it and is then gently pumped out and reused. When the rock is nearly full of carbon dioxide, we add pure water on top to hold it in the ground.
Watching It Work
We’ve spent decades inventing and refining the unique chemical and physical sensor systems required to watch this sequestration process and confirm its success, as well as to monitor the results long-term in order to ensure the carbon dioxide stays where it is placed.
Doing More for Less, Faster
We estimate that unconventional carbon capture and sequestration projects cost three times less to start and two to four (2-4) times less to operate than conventional carbon capture and sequestration methods.
Sustainability Through Intelligent Design
Our process was designed to be a closed loop, which avoids water waste and excessive usage. It was also designed to use less energy consumption and be resilient and flexible with various carbon dioxide sources, power sources, startup and usage duty cycles, and rock formation types.