More than 500m True Vertical Depth (TVD) below the surface CO2 is converted to biomass powered by the oxidation of waste gases by Chemolithoautotrophic (CAT) bacteria in depleted oil and gas or saline formations. The energy source for the CAT bacteria is the oxidation of sulfides to sulfates. Geothermal wells are used to recycle sulfates back to sulfides. Biomass is continuously produced to surface. These geo-bioreactors have minimal surface footprint as downhole reactions do not require sunlight. Traditional oil and gas drilling and completions technology is employed for low capital and operating costs and boost project economics.
Economic and scalable conversion of waste carbon dioxide to biomass with minimum surface footprint and fresh water requirements
The CAT well concept is an application of the Western Research Institute (WRI)’s CAT process. Partially supported by the United States Department of Energy, WRI’s CATTM technology is a biological process for recycling carbon produced as a byproduct of some forms of electricity generation by capturing CO2 and converting it to valuable products. Through the use of the CATTM process, a substantial net reduction of atmospheric CO2 is achieved by both recycling carbon and displacing CO2 emissions from conventional hydrocarbon combustion based processes.
The CAT Wells utilize brackish non-fresh water, have minimal surface footprint and are powered using waste sulfide gas. For comparison the surface footprint for a CAT Well project vs. that of traditional biofuels is highlighted in the figure below:
The integrated research program led by CleanCarbon will be performed at both WRI in Wyoming and at Olds College School of Innovation (OCSI) in Canada. The two organizations intend to submit combined research proposals to both US and Canadian stakeholders in the coming year to fast track the technology development and commercialization process.