Principal Investigator

At a Glance

In the past year, the Deep Subsurface research group has developed a research strategy focused on carbon capture and storage (CCS) opportunities in the United States, China, and India. For each, a targeted project has been identified, consistent with the current state of development in each location..


Research Highlight

United States. The recent study of Edwards and Celia (PNAS, 2018) focused on the impact of the 45Q Tax Credit on potential pipeline construction in the Midwest, with a focus on low-capture-cost sources like ethanol plants (Figure 8.1). That study is now being expanded in two ways. First, the study team has begun to collaborate with a group working on one of the U.S. Department of Energy CarbonSAFE projects. That project, headed by CMI alumnus Andrew Duguid, focuses on building a pipeline in the Kansas- Nebraska area, with a major component of the overall system being stacked carbon dioxide (CO2) storage involving a mix of CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and dedicated saline aquifer storage. This project provides local-scale detail on what is required to develop a real pipeline project. The team has also begun a second project, which will examine how development of low-cost capture technologies for the power sector, like NetPower’s Allam Cycle power plants, could influence the dynamics of pipeline construction and subsurface utilization over the next few decades. If the analysis is expanded to include the power sector as part of the low-capture-cost options, the amount of CO2 captured and stored increases by at least an order of magnitude. In this case, additional storage options along the pipeline route need to be identified and characterized, with the overall mix of storage involving both EOR and dedicated storage. The local-scale work with Andrew Duguid, and his analysis of stacked storage, will provide important inputs to this larger-scale study. The team expects to produce an updated report of the infrastructure development that includes low-cost capture for new power plants, with the captured CO2 used for both EOR and dedicated storage..

China. In China, the Celia group is focusing on the northwestern province of Xinjiang, where there appears to be substantial subsurface storage capacity as well as a range of CO2 sources. China’s policy to move coal activities from the populated east to the less populated west, together with the large coal resources in the Xinjiang region, make this a good target for large-scale CCS. One of the main challenges to a detailed CCS assessment in this region is availability of reliable data for subsurface characterization. Through contacts and visits to the China Geological Survey, the China Geosciences University, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute for Soil and Rock Mechanics, the team has been able to access geological data that allows for an initial description of the Junggar Basin in Xinjiang. The team also has inventories of CO2 sources in the basin. Using this information, they are undertaking a preliminary analysis of dynamic storage capacity in the region. Because of the strategic location of the province along the Belt and Road corridor, the team is also looking into aspects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government, to try to understand CCS potential within the broader infrastructure development in the BRI.

India. Because large-scale storage in India is likely to require injection into the Deccan Traps, a large basalt formation, a project has been initiated to model CO2 injection and reactive transport in these highly reactive rocks. Celia and his team are beginning with an analysis of the completed field experiments in Iceland and in the northwest of the United States, and will develop appropriate modeling tools in collaboration with the subsurface computational group at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, where a center of excellence in high-performance computing provides outstanding computational options.

Carbon dioxide pipeline and fire map
Figure 8.1. Blue lines show the optimal pipeline network to connect low-capture-cost sources, in this case, ethanol plants in the upper Midwest of the U.S., to the demand for CO2 (for EOR) in west Texas. The 45Q Tax Credit plays a central role in the economics of the proposed pipeline development. Details can be found in Edwards and Celia (2018).


Aslannejad, H., S.M. Hassanizadeh, and M.A. Celia, 2019. Characterization of the Interface between Coating and Fibrous Layers of Paper. Transport in Porous Media, accepted for publication.

Bandilla, K. and M.A. Celia, 2019. “Numerical Modeling of Fluid Flow during Geologic Carbon Storage” in Science of Carbon Storage in Deep Saline Formations: Process Coupling across Time and Spatial Scales. Newell, P. and A.G. Ilgen (Eds.). Elsevier (Amsterdam).

Edwards, R.W.J. and M.A. Celia, 2018. Infrastructure to enable deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage in the United States. PNAS, 115(38): E8815-E8824.

Riddick, S.N., D.L. Mauzerall, M.A. Celia, M. Kang, K. Bressler, C. Chu, and C.D. Gun, 2019. Measuring Methane Emissions from Abandoned and Active Oil and Gas Wells in West Virginia. Science of the Total Environment, 651: 1849-1856.

Tao, Y., B. Guo, K. Bandilla, and M.A. Celia, 2019. Vertically-integrated Dual-continuum Models for CO2 Injection in Fractured Geological Formations. Computational Geosciences, accepted for publication.