The green flag shown to a $10 million project by the Washington state’s Department of Ecology will give the world its first pilot test of carbon capture and sequestration in continental flood basalt near a paper mill in Wallula. Under the project, works on injecting 1,000 tons of CO2 into a 4,000-foot well at Wallula will begin by January 2011. After two weeks of injection, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory National Laboratory and Battelle will monitor it for a year and a half, extracting fluid and gas samples to track the evolution of chemistry in the subsurface.
In order to check if the subterranean basalt formation that lies beneath Wallula could be used to sequester, the team of Battelle scientists have been test drilling at the site for nearly two years already. During these two years, the team has collected data on its suitability for carbon sequestration. The scientists claim if they get any luck during the test, a large commercial-scale CO2 sequestration could be expected in about eight years, in a type of rock called continental flood basalt. The project is one of several CCS pilots partly funded by the DOE with a $4.6 million grant from the Obama administration Recovery Act last year. The Boise White Paper mill was not the first choice for the test, it was the Port of Walla Walla rather.