The study started in the fall of 2011 and is expected to be completed in November 2013. It will look at the economics of enhanced gas recovery – similar in concept to enhanced oil recovery. Researchers recognize that the costs of the process can be substantially decreased – and the economics of using CO2 in this dual manner substantially improved - through shared transportation infrastructure like pipelines and compressor stations. So, they are studying the feasibility of building a transportation network that could capture the carbon dioxide at multiple power plants and industrial facilities and transport it to the wells where it would be injected and stored.
The ideas of using CO2 for enhanced oil and gas recovery in Pennsylvania, and of a network of shared infrastructure to lower CCS costs, were studied (the latter for the first time, anywhere) during my tenure with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
While significant questions remain about whether fracking precludes - or at least potentially conflicts with - underground storage of CO2, the Penn State/WVU/NETL study is an important one whose results will merit close scrutiny.