Research goals

The Two Elk Energy Park Learning Laboratory focuses on Wyoming's Powder River Basin. In particular, the laboratory will use as a motivating case study the Two Elk Energy Park. The Two Elk Energy Park consists of a 325 MW mine-mouth power facility designed to use non-commercial "waste" coal from nearby mines. The associated Two Elk Carbon Project also consists of a gas-fired combustion turbine and a proposed gas separation facility ("Recovery Plant") designed to separate CO2 in flue gas. Separated CO2 will be initially utilized in Enhanced Oil Recovery in nearby oilfields while other CO2 beneficial uses and sequestration opportunities are explored.

The Two Elk Energy Park is innovative because it efficiently optimizes siting and transportation and plans to use local gas and wind power to operate Energy Park facilities. This supplemental power will drive the Recovery Plant, reducing overall electrical demands and improving the overall life cycle emission profile.

Our current research at Stanford focuses on three main areas related to the Two Elk Energy Park:

Assessment of saline aquifer storage opportunities

  • Analyze saline aquifers for suitability of structures, potential scale, and cost
  • Build basin-scale models of potential impacts to aquifers from CO2 storage
  • Investigate CO2 trapping mechanisms, including two-phase effects such as bubble formation and growth

Assessment of coal-bed storage opportunities

  • Explore fundamental chemistry of CO2 interactions with coal surfaces
  • Analyze geomechanics of coal-bed CO2 storage, including effects of changes to coal properties with CO2 adsorption and swelling of coals

Whole system optimization:

  • Develop methods to optimize energy output and minimize inputs in multi-component energy parks that include CCS
  • Explore the potential of interim CO2 storage to enhance the flexibility of hybrid energy systems, and to bridge gaps between CO2 supply and demand (e.g., for EOR applications)
  • Explore regional CO2 storage hubs for interim storage of CO2 for permanent storage at multiple locations







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Updated: January 27, 2010