Why Archaea is Committed to Carbon Sequestration
At Archaea, we are able to leverage our industry-leading Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) and Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) capabilities to help our partners fight climate change and protect the environment. Unlike emissions from the oil and gas industry, which can be displaced through the advancement of renewable energy technologies, emissions from waste will continue if there is no intervention.
Our landfill RNG facilities remove pollutants from landfill gas, reduce air emissions, and generate clean energy, while our CCS solutions allow landfill operators to capture the carbon dioxide (CO2) within the landfill gas emitted from their sites and safely store it underground in perpetuity, preventing emissions that would otherwise reach the atmosphere and exacerbate global warming. Together, these solutions help our partners be better neighbors and more responsible global citizens.
The emissions we capture differ from other forms of CO2 released into the atmosphere because we are sequestering CO2 derived from the natural decomposition of organic waste rather than the burning of fossil fuels. Through our landfill gas-to-energy projects and carbon sequestration initiatives, we provide economically beneficial avenues to produce renewable natural gas and minimize emissions from this waste over the long term.
What is CCS?
CCS involves capturing CO2 from emissions sources and permanently removing it from the atmosphere via geologic sequestration thousands of feet underground. Carbon sequestration projects are effectively the reverse of oil and gas extraction, as they put carbon back into the ground instead of taking it out.
Sites like saline reservoirs, unmineable coal seams, and depleted oil and gas fields are ideal storage locations for CO2. In some cases, these reservoirs have stored natural gas and oil for millions of years before recent extraction.
How Does Our CCS Process Work?
Landfill gas is primarily composed of methane and CO2. Through a series of wells placed within the landfill, gases from waste decomposition are collected and piped to a central location where they can be processed at an on-site Archaea landfill gas-to-energy plant. At these processing facilities, the methane component is purified and turned into beneficial renewable natural gas, which is then able to be converted into energy, serving as a replacement for fossil-derived natural gas. With carbon sequestration, the CO2 will be collected through separation techniques, compressed into a dense liquid and transported to the sequestration site via pipeline, rail, or truck. Archaea strives to limit the distance to the sequestration site to reduce the emissions and costs associated with our transportation infrastructure.
Upon arrival to the sequestration site, the carbon dioxide will be injected through a well deep underground where it is then stored in micrometer-sized pores present in rock formations. Pores in the rock are interconnected, which allows the CO2 to permeate throughout the formation during injection. A rock cap at the top of the formation serves as a barrier to permanently contain the CO2.
Our top priority is to protect groundwater and prevent leakage of the CO2 plume. We track the movement of CO2 in the subsurface continuously throughout the project life using subsurface detectors, imaging scans, and groundwater sampling.
Why Landfill Gas-Related CO2 Sequestration is Important for the Environment
Much of the talk around fighting global warming is centered on the need to reduce the volume of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. However, landfill-based greenhouse gases, which are a natural byproduct of waste decomposition at industrial and municipal solid waste facilities, can also be a significant source of harmful emissions.
By implementing landfill gas-to-energy projects on landfill sites, including renewable natural gas facilities, over 90% of the methane generated within landfill gas can be used beneficially, resulting in a material reduction in emissions and in the displacement of fossil fuel-derived natural gas.
Landfill owners can take another meaningful step in permanently removing associated greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by sequestering the CO2 within landfill gas – creating a win/win for the landfill operator and the general public.
Climate scientists have shown that greenhouse gas emissions are causing global temperatures to increase, climate zones to shift and weather patterns to be more unpredictable. This means more extreme weather events – including floods, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes – as well as reduced land arability and elevated sea levels that could displace coastal communities.
While carbon sequestration may sound new, it is a process that has been accomplished safely for decades. The energy industry initially began CO2 injection more than 40 years ago to improve oil extraction processes in a technique known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Over the last 20 years, millions of tons of CO2 have been successfully injected into the Earth’s subsurface as part of CCS projects.
CCS safety has also been validated by independent intergovernmental agencies, industry groups, and third-party research.
Archaea follows the highest standard practices for site selection, handling, storing, and monitoring CO2 to ensure safe operations and delivery into the subsurface. We work with federal agencies and local governments, as well as surface and mineral owners to maintain compliance and support open, honest communication for every stakeholder.
Sequestration takes place thousands of feet below the surface. A single injection well will create an underground CO2 plume that emanates from the original injection site. Depending on the area of a landowner’s property, this plume may spread below the surface to other tracts of land. Land rights must be granted both at the physical well site for injection, as well as for other tracts of land that the plume is stored underneath. If the well site is located on your land, there will be active drilling and injection activities on-site. We will work with you to mitigate surface use impact. Otherwise, a sequestration easement will have no effect on your surface use.
About our Team
Archaea has built a team of highly trained and experienced geoscientists and engineers to lead our CCS efforts. Our mission is to design and implement CCS projects safely and responsibly across the country, working with landowners and local stakeholders throughout the process to allow our partners to continue their day-to-day operations unimpeded. Our team is committed to high project development and execution standards, complying with all state and federal regulations and permitting requirements to ensure safe, efficient, and lawful operation.
Get in Touch
If you’re interested in how Archaea Energy can help you realize your Carbon Capture and Storage objectives, contact us.