• Kyodo


A private research institute in Kyoto Prefecture that carries out government-funded projects will study the feasibility of sealing carbon dioxide in a geological layer and offshore seabed in June.

The Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth said it will conduct experiments at a demonstration plant to be built near a natural-gas field in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture.

Carbon dioxide generated by thermal power plants and factories will be collected via a chemical process, liquefied and transported via tankers to the demonstration plant. Upon delivery, the gas will be compressed and pumped through a pipeline into a geographical layer 800 meters to 1.2 km below ground.

RITE announced the plan in Kyoto at the International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies.

It said a similar system has been in practical use in North Sea oil fields off Norway.

By one account, the geological layers and surrounding seabed of Japan are capable of holding 90 billion tons of carbon dioxide, meaning the plan could be an effective way to help reduce quantities of the greenhouse gas that are released into the atmosphere.

In the experiment, RITE will compress the carbon dioxide into a 60-meter-thick sandstone aquifer. The gas is expected to remain in the aquifer, which is capped by a layer of impermeable mudstone or indurated shale.

The carbon dioxide is expected to remain in the aquifer on a permanent basis.

The institute said it will inject 20 tons of gas per day, or 7,000 tons over a one-year trial period, while checking the effects of the process on the ground and rocks surrounding the aquifer.

The institute said it will conduct further experiments if the first round goes well.