CO2 Earth Storage: Enhanced Geothermal Energy and Water Recovery and Energy Storage

Thomas A. Buscheck, Jeffrey M. Bielicki, Jimmy B. Randolph

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Mitigating climate change requires a range of measures, including increased use of renewable and low-carbon energy and reducing the CO2 intensity of fossil energy use. We present an approach designed to address the major deployment barriers to CO2 capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and utility-scale energy storage needed to maximize use of variable renewable energy and low-carbon baseload power. We use the huge fluid and thermal storage capacity of the earth, together with overpressure driven by CO2 storage, to harvest, store, and dispatch energy from subsurface (geothermal) and surface (solar, fossil, nuclear) thermal resources, as well as excess energy from electric grids. Permanent storage of CO2 enables the earth to function as a low-carbon energy-system hub. Stored CO2 plays three key roles: (1) as a supplemental fluid that creates pressure needed to efficiently recirculate working fluids that store and recover energy, (2) as a working fluid for efficient, low-water-intensity electricity conversion, and (3) as a shock absorber that allows diurnal and seasonal recharge/discharge cycles with minimal pressure oscillations, thereby providing enormous pressure-storage capacity, with reduced risk of induced seismicity or leakage of stored CO2. To assure safe storage pressures, a portion of the brine produced from the CO2 storage reservoir can be diverted to generate water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6870-6879
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Procedia
StatePublished - 2017
Event13th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, GHGT 2016 - Lausanne, Switzerland
Duration: Nov 14 2016Nov 18 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) under grant number DE-FOA-0000336 and a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP) program 1230691. This work was performed under the auspices of the USDOE by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) under DOE contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 T.A. Buscheck.


  • Geologic CO storage
  • capacity factor
  • energy storage
  • enhanced water recovery
  • low-carbon energy
  • reservoir pressure management

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