PCI Oxyfuel Downhole Steam Generator Selected for SBIR Phase I Exploring Use for Production of Methane from Hydrates
NORTH HAVEN, CT (April 27, 2010) -- Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) announced today that its new downhole oxyfuel steam/CO2 generator for methane gas production from hydrates has been selected for a Phase I award.
Methane hydrate is a vast but latent natural gas resource existing in subsurface sediments at high pressure and extremely low temperatures in the arctic permafrost and beneath the ocean floor. Methane hydrates are natural gas captured in an ice crystal matrix. While potential reserves are not yet well quantified, they comprise by far the largest source of natural gas on Earth. Hydrates are difficult to exploit due to their location in icy subsurface formations. Various production approaches are being explored, but to date only offer recovery of a small fraction of the gas in a reservoir.
PCI’s novel technology offers the prospect to provide a high production rate of methane while also sequestering the CO2 in the process. PCI's technology burns fuel at the hydrate formation, directly heating the hydrate to melt it and release the natural gas.
In Phase I, PCI will do system analysis and design, and demonstrate the stability and robustness of a subscale prototype of the steam/CO2 generator for in-situ heat generation. The proposed technology is a spin-off from PCI’s combustion technology designed for operation with syngas, providing a high heat rate at high pressure with reliability and long service intervals. PCI believes the technology has the potential to provide a viable energy efficient tool for natural gas production from hydrate. A spinoff application would be for heavy oil production, replacing surface steam generation for increased oil production and substantially reduced energy cost. A second spinoff would be for avoiding hydrate formation in gas production and transport operations.
Dr. Shahrokh Etemad, Project Principal Investigator commented,
"Achieving high combustion intensity in a very small volume at downhole conditions involves robustly and controllably achieving a high heat rate at very high pressure while overcoming many challenges. This technology with further investment and associated work has the potential to be a viable production tool to recover the significant potential opportunity. Reserves as large as a 600 foot thick well would contain gas worth over 4.8 trillion dollars. The potentially huge amounts of methane recovered from hydrates could contribute a major new source in support of American energy independence."
Precision Combustion, Inc. (www.precision-combustion.com) is a clean energy technology company developing and manufacturing catalytic devices and systems for energy sector applications. To learn more, visit www.precision-combustion.com.
The U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program seeks to stimulate technological innovation through competitive solicitations targeted to solve government agency objectives. Approximately one in eight Phase I proposals are funded for proof-of-concept R&D, with 40%-45% of those advancing to a Phase II for sustained development. Winners keep the rights to technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology.
For more information, contact: Tony Anderson
Manager, Marketing and Business Development