Wells used to capture and store carbon produced in industrial processes don’t threaten freshwater aquifers and would be closely monitored for decades past their active use, a senior geologist with Air Products says.
Mariel Schottenfeld, whose firm is planning a multibillion dollar hydrogen plant paired with a carbon capture facility, last week told the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge to expect more such projects once state regulators assume primary authority for the injection wells from the federal government, as is widely expected.
Some $45 billion in projects involving carbon sequestration have been proposed for Louisiana industrywide, said Andrew Connolly, who manages large hydrogen projects for Air Products.
Critics say carbon capture is an unproven process that carries environmental risks and won’t achieve the stated goal of mitigating climate change. Schottenfeld said no true sequestration sites have been built yet but that the science has worked in enhanced oil recovery.
Bills seeking to slow or halt Air Products’ plans to inject carbon dioxide beneath Lake Maurepas were shot down with help from the company’s small army of lobbyists. Legislation creating additional regulations and revenue sharing with local governments remains alive.
Schottenfeld says the rules governing the Class VI wells used to inject carbon dioxide into deep rock formations are stringent to ensure drinking water is protected. The CO2 is locked in an “impermeable zone” and the well is monitored with fiber optic cables, pressure and temperature gauges and water sampling devices, and the information gathered becomes public record. The response plan created in case of a failure also becomes publicly available, she added.