Exelis is monitoring a site in Illinois for possible carbon dioxide emissions as part of a program funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy seeking to improve greenhouse gas-monitoring technologies and ensuring the safety of carbon capture and storage.
The project is administered through DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Exelis engineers installed a multipoint laser-based system called GreenLITE to provide constant monitoring of a half-square kilometer area at an operational carbon sequestration site. The site, adjacent to an ethanol production facility, has captured 1 million metric tons of CO in underground storage over the last three years.
The department is funding projects such as GreenLITE to monitor and verify potential CO2 releases to ensure safety and environmental concerns can be addressed.
Jeremy Dobler, Exelis program manager and senior scientist, says the system runs autonomously and sends text messages with updates and geolocates concentrations of CO, which allows for fast reaction times. Current technology requires a month to collect and analyze the data using a person on foot walking with a handheld device and then analyzing the data at a later time.
“By the time emissions from a potential leak are found during routine monthly monitoring, CO could have been entering the atmosphere for weeks defeating the purpose of reducing environmental consequences of the leak,” Dobler said. “We’re also examining ways to extend the capability to cover areas up to 100 square kilometers. This would allow the system to cover much larger carbon-capture facilities or even an urban area, given the importance of cities in carbon emissions.”
Earlier this year DOE announced a collaboration with Shell Canada to conduct field tests to validate advanced monitoring, verification, and accounting technologies for underground storage of carbon dioxide.