Optimizing Alabama’s CO₂ Storage in Shelby County (Project OASIS) is a new project to support the U.S. Department of Energy’s CarbonSAFE Phase II Program goals of reducing project risks and costs for future carbon dioxide (CO₂) capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects, bringing more storage resources into commercial classifications that support business and financial decisions, and encouraging more rapid growth of a vibrant, geographically widespread industry for geologic carbon storage. The goal is to establish the foundation for a commercial-scale geologic storage complex for CO₂ captured from Plant Gaston, a major 1.88 GW (capacity) natural gas and coal-fueled power plant and the site of the DOE’s National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC), and surrounding industrial sources of CO₂ located in Shelby County, Alabama.

The storage complex could additionally serve as a central CO₂ storage hub for multiple large industrial plants that are located within the project area by enabling 1.7 million metric tons per year of CO₂ from Alabama Power’s Plant Gaston to be captured and stored, with the potential for an additional 5 million metric tons per year from the cement and pulp and paper plants in the region. Establishing a safe and permanent CO₂ storage complex is essential for maintaining the viability of power production from Plant Gaston. Alabama Power has initiated discussions of replacing the current low-efficiency coal and natural gas fueled units at Plant Gaston with a state-of-the-art, high-efficiency natural gas-fueled combined cycle (NGCC) power plant. Establishing a storage facility nearby will provide significant support for this important initiative.

The Project Team established seven objectives to achieve its goal, including: 1) demonstrate that the subsurface saline formations at the storage complex can store commercial volumes of CO₂ safely and permanently; 2) develop a comprehensive Community and Stakeholder Engagement Plan that includes Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility, Justice 40, and Economic Revitalization and Job Creation considerations; 3) establish the infrastructure framework for a CO₂ storage hub; 4) create a rigorous risk registry and conduct a comprehensive risk assessment; 5) develop a monitoring plan; 6) execute a comprehensive site characterization plan to support an Underground Injection Control Class VI Permit in Phase III; and 7) evaluate project commerciality.

Photograph of participants in the November 3, 2023, Project OASIS-NCCC open house.

Work on this project is led by the Southern States Energy Board. Project Team members include Advanced Resources International, Inc., Alabama A&M University, Auburn University, Crescent Resource Innovation, Oklahoma State University, Southern Company / Alabama Power Company, Westervelt, and Baker Hughes.