Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Assess the potential viability of CO2 storage in ocean sediments(ST10113)

The Trustees of Columbia University in t


Geological sequestration aims to confine CO2 in underground formations. The ability of the formations to trap the CO2 depends on many factors, including the presence of a low-permeability cap rock. Such formations are not abundant onshore along the NY coastline, where many of the CO2 sources are located. The ability to sequester offshore would reduce the hassle and cost of transporting CO2 from these sources to suitable formations across the State. Additionally, the volume of relevant ocean sediments along the New York coast is massive and could likely handle a large part of the State’s current anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

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Project Description

This project investigates the potential for offshore carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration, a method of greenhouse gas emissions reduction that may be suitable for New York State. The objective is to evaluate, through laboratory experiments, the feasibility of CO2 injection in deep ocean sediments along the New York coast. In offshore carbon sequestration, the relatively low density of the pore fluid in sub-seabed sediments provides a cap to the denser liquid CO2 and ensures permanent storage; additionally, marine sediments act as a physical barrier to slow diffusion into the ocean and prevent the resulting ocean acidification and long-term atmospheric release of CO2. To better understand the fate of the injected CO2 and potentially guide the way to an industry-led demonstration project, this study will attempt to characterize: the flow of injected CO2 in deep-sea sediments; potential chemical reactions with minerals; and the role of clathrate formation, which occurs when CO2 and water combine to form a solid that fills the pore space.


The ability to permanently sequester CO2 will reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas. This project explores a new, potentially massive resource for carbon sequestration in deep ocean sediments off the New York coast, which could help resolve the mismatch between the location of coastal CO2 sources and potential sinks. In addition to the environmental benefits, the ability to sequester in NYS could lead to economic benefits if a mandatory cap-and-trade program is established. Sequestration offshore in the State could reduce the cost of sequestration by reducing the distance that the CO2 must be transported.

Project Results

Initial experiments have probed the issue of CO2 transport in loosely consolidated, low-permeability sediments. Geomechanical measurements to characterize elastic and plastic properties of ocean sediments, are ongoing, and the possibility of hydraulic fracturing and buoyant fractures is being tested in experiments using transparent material such as gelatin or transparent clay as a proxy for weak, low-permeability sediment. Quantification of the relevant parameters is ongoing. An experimental plan was designed in preparation for the core-flooding experiment at higher pressure and low temperature. The simulations showed that the amount of mixing will control the rate of carbonic acid formation and therefore the chemical reactivity, as well as the potential of CO2 hydrate formation.


The Trustees of Columbia University in t
Sponsored Projects Finance PO Box 29789
New York, NY 10087

Principle Investigator

David Goldberg

Universities Involved

Columbia University


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Waste Management and Pollution Prevention
Carbon Capture and Sequestration

NYSERDA Contact Information

Amanda Stevens


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 12/27/2007
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10113

Last Updated: 5/11/2012