Salt Cavern CO2 Storage in Northern Pennsylvania

Clarion County Pennsylvania is in the conceptual stages of storing CO2 underground in salt caverns. Basically, carbon dioxide released during coal burning for energy, will be captured and pushed underground instead of into the environment, of which contributes to global warming.

We’ve seen many examples of the other uses of salt cavern storage, for instance; natural gas, CAES, but here is a good example of the use of CCS (Carbon Capture and Sequester) in salt caverns.

The government in Pennsylvania has not only discussed the concept but has requested the assessment of the state’s geological storage potential. The technology will create jobs and will allow the states coal burning industries to continue to operate in an environmentally sound regard. The more states that jump onto this clean tech bandwagon, the quicker the US can mandate these practices.

The carbon storage capacity in salt caverns is quite large in the US, something to the amount of 600 billion tonnes of CO2. It is a feasible long term solution as well as being quite safe. However, the research on CO2 leakage, contaminating drinking water, and the accountability, isn’t 100% and this is usually the hindrance in launching a CCS project.

For Clarion County, deep and solid salt beds made mostly of halite could be created by solution mining to bore out the wells for CO2 storage. The dissolved salt could then be used for fertilizer or other commercially valuable products.

If Pennsylvania can headline this technology, it could bring huge returns for the state. Investors understand the lucrative future of such a clean tech project, and will be eager to support them. Not only do the investors win, but so does the earth.

Jason Fradley