Featuring the most comprehensive, multi-dimensional geological field laboratory for CO2 storage in the world, the Aquistore Project has the ingenuity to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is being sought globally for its scientific expertise and innovation.

The Aquistore Project, located in the small town of Estevan, Saskatchewan, aims to advance and optimize carbon storage as part of Canada’s climate change mitigation efforts through the advancement of clean technology. Aquistore is demonstrating the safety, reliability, and economic advantages of injecting captured carbon into a 3,400-metre-deep saltwater-infused sandstone.

“Aquistore has already removed over 100,000 tonnes of carbon, which is comparable to planting 2.7 million tree seedlings grown over 10 years,” says Kyle Worth, Senior Project Manager at the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC), the organization that manages Aquistore.

With Canada’s international commitment to a low-carbon economy, decarbonizing non-renewables by storing carbon is becoming an important component of GHG reduction. In addition to the energy sector, other carbon industrial point sources such as cement and steel production, chemical manufacturing, and fertilizer production are also being called upon to be climate smart.

The Aquistore Project is proving carbon storage to be both viable and essential in helping industries that have few other options to manage compliance-quality offsets of their GHG emissions.

“While renewable energy is the future, we should not be short-sighted and overlook the additional benefits of carbon storage for industries with limited options to reduce carbon emissions, especially when those industries support the development of renewables,” says Worth.

“Carbon storage is a feasible option for steel manufacturing used to build wind turbines, the petroleum products utilized in solar panels, the plants producing cement for hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants that in turn fuel electric vehicles, and from fertilizer plants that support the growth of food.”

Global leader in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) intelligence

Aquistore is valued for its knowledge, commitment to innovation, and unique and extensive data. 

Industry and government partners in Japan, Korea, Australia, the United States, South Africa, and the United Kingdom have each been participating in the Aquistore Project in order to develop their homegrown intelligence. The Aquistore Project provides opportunities for capacity building through innovative research, training, and education to global partners.

“We’ve been developing highly qualified personnel here and it’s important to retain Canadian expertise that we can then export,” says Dr. Chris Hawkes of the University of Saskatchewan, a member of Aquistore’s Science and Engineering Research Committee (SERC).

While a Canadian project, Aquistore has significant international impact. “The continued success of this project will have incredible implications for reducing carbon emissions throughout the world,” says London, England-based John Gale, General Manager of the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D program.

“It’s important that we collaborate from a point of strength with global partners,” says Worth. “We can help to achieve Canada’s Mission Innovation with the trilateral agreement between Canada, U.S.A. and Mexico, via the North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership.”

Advances in technology

The project boasts an impressive monitoring measurement and verification program that’s advancing the understanding of carbon storage in the subsurface.

“The Aquistore Project is providing us with an opportunity to test emerging technologies in innovative geophysical equipment, including distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) fibre,” says Dr. Don White of the Geological Survey of Canada and Chair of Aquistore’s SERC. For the first time, DAS fibre is a technology being used to image carbon at such extreme depths. “This is significant to many industries and policymakers because we are accelerating our understanding and verifying the safety of carbon storage.”

Aquistore is a full-scale project tied to real injection considerations — taking industrial carbon at variable and intermittent rates — associated with SaskPower’s carbon capture initiative.

Aquistore’s knowledge will provide fundamental understanding of the reality for commercial operations regardless of the carbon point source.

Impact and investment

As understanding of the subsurface and impact of injected fluids improves, the Aquistore Project will have an important and critical impact on updating Canadian policy, regulations, and standards for the safe long-term operation of permanent carbon storage across the industrial heartland.

Striving to continually advance innovation in clean technology with science-based facts, projects such as Aquistore are an important piece of the puzzle contingent on continued investment, research, and collaborations.