Kentucky Geological Survey Report of Investigations


Kentucky gets approximately 95 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, which produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2). In 2005, Kentucky coal-fired plants vented 102.8 million short tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The economic vitality of the state will be affected by its ability to develop and apply a portfolio of technologies that will mitigate input of CO2 into the atmosphere. One technology that has the potential to assist in this challenge is geologic carbon storage, which captures CO2 at point sources and injects it into deep rock strata that can store it for tens of thousands of years and longer.

Previous studies suggest that Kentucky has the capacity to store up to 1 billion tons of CO2 in underground strata. By necessity, the capacity calculations are high-level estimates, and consequently, actual capacity remains unproved and even speculative. In addition, other factors such as infrastructure, engineering, and economic and regulatory policy will affect the viability of geologic carbon storage in the state.

This report is divided into five chapters, each addressing specific technical aspects pertinent to geologic carbon storage, which is the overarching theme. Chapter 1 is an introduction and overview of geologic carbon storage and the data needed to evaluate its potential. Chapter 2 is a geologic evaluation of the potential to use CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. Chapter 3 is an evaluation of subsurface formation-water geochemistry and implications for CO2 sequestration. Chapter 4 is an evaluation of CO2 storage potential with an emphasis along some of the state's major river corridors. Chapter 5 is a geologic evaluation of CO2 storage potential for nominated coal-to-liquids (gasification) sites.

Publication Date



Series XII

Report Number

Report of Investigations 21

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)