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Environmental Sustainability Division

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Unconventional Natural Gas Storage in Geologic Formations

Drs. Stephen Reidel, Vernon Johnson, and Frank Spane of PNNL are working with the U.S. Department of Energy and private industry to solve technical problems related to unconventional natural gas storage in geologic formations. In the Pacific Northwest, one possible clean, non-nuclear alternative solution to meet future power needs is natural gas-fired power plants. A major requirement for utilization of the natural gas option is the availability of sufficient gas storage capacity during non-power peaking and low-heating demand periods. While natural gas supply lines transverse the northwest, no significant gas storage capacity has been currently developed within the region. The occurrence of thick sequences of Columbia River basalts within the Columbia Basin (situated between the Cascade Range and the Rocky Mountains), however, offers a high potential for new, unconventional subsurface natural gas storage.

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