New Mexico Tech Secures Grant for New Carbon Sequestration Technology

May 11, 2023

Team will research storage technologies within basaltic rocks and mining waste in New Mexico 

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SOCORRO, N.M. – A new grant will enable New Mexico Tech researchers to study the potential for storing carbon dioxide (CO2) within basaltic rocks and mining waste in New Mexico and surrounding areas, reducing the amount in the atmosphere. The grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Carbon Management Program will allow researchers to perform a resource assessment and feasibility study on carbon storage within mafic/ultramafic rocks.

The project’s overall objective is to identify and access statewide resources for potential CO2 storage via mineralization processes, including basalt formations and related stratigraphic units, and mining wastes in the state of New Mexico, as well as identify and characterize potential targeted storage sites/complexes to provide insights on CO2 storage capacity. 

“We will try to provoke the interest in CO2 storage in local communities and open the dialog between researchers and identified stakeholders potentially impacted by this project,” said Dr. Sai Wang, research engineer from NMT’s Petroleum Recovery Research Center (PRRC) and lead principal investigator (PI). He added that CO2 chemical trapping has been attracting more attention from academia and industry recently.

“It is exciting for me personally and for the team to successfully secure this funding to study this potential for the state,” he said. “This funding opportunity will assist NMT researchers to support faculty, staff, and student research. It wouldn’t have been possible without the firm support from collaborators, entities, and industrial partners such as the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources; NMT’s departments of Earth and Environmental Science, Mineral Engineering, and Chemical Engineering; Los Alamos National Lab; Freeport; and General Electric. As the project’s PI, I would like to express sincere gratitude to everyone who supported us on this application.”   

Dr. William Ampomah, assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering, is the project manager. He is spreading the willingness to upscale this research topic in the near future. 

“The award was very competitive,” he said. “As the experience we gained from the previous CCUS (carbon capture use and sequestration) projects, Sai and I are overseeing the bright future of this technology to be commercialized.” 

Dr. Robert Balch, PRRC director, said this grant is one way to engage more researchers into the CCUS field. 

“Sai is one of my outstanding researchers in PRRC and I am very glad to see his rapid growth as a young professional.”