A carbon dioxide storage hub project proposed for Wise County has received a $4.29 million federal grant. Map courtesy of the Virginia Department of Energy.

A carbon dioxide storage hub project proposed for Wise County has been granted $4.29 million by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The storage hub is intended to store more than four million metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually by industrial sources in the area, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said in a news release Wednesday.

The money will go to the Virginia Department of Energy and will be used to study site feasibility and commercial viability of the project, the release states.

“I look forward to seeing how the Virginia Department of Energy can play a part in the development of carbon dioxide storage, as it will not only be beneficial to our environment by taking emissions out of the atmosphere, but also bring more jobs to Southwest Virginia,” Griffith said in the release.

According to a map from Virginia Energy, potential carbon dioxide sources are the Buchanan Mine Prep Plant; Buchanan Units 1 and 2; Jewell Coal & Coke; McClure River Prep Plant; Clinch River Technology Park; Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in St. Paul; the proposed Penn Virginia Blue Hydrogen facility; Wolf Hills Energy; the Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport, Tennessee; and Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport.

Tarah Kesterson, public relations manager for Virginia Energy, said the department was notified Tuesday that it was recommended for a federal grant for the Virginia Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise, or SAFE, but has not yet confirmed the amount.

“The goal of the project is to identify storage opportunities for local Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” she said Wednesday in an email. “First, the team will demonstrate that porous formations deep underground can safely and permanently store large volumes of Carbon Dioxide. The team will create an infrastructure framework for this storage hub, complete a comprehensive risk assessment and develop a site characterization plan to support getting a permit to inject CO2 in the next phase of the project.”

The economic benefit of the project in Southwest Virginia will also be evaluated, she said, and there will be opportunity for community and stakeholder engagement throughout the process.

In addition to Virginia Energy, the project partners are Advanced Resources International Inc., Crescent Resource Innovations, Coalfield Strategies LLC, EnerVest Ltd., Virginia Tech professor emeritus Michael Karmis, and Oklahoma State University, which together possess experience on carbon capture and storage projects over the last 20 years, Kesterson said.

The project is in the early phase and the work is expected to be completed in 24 months, she said.

“This is a very early phase to study whether developing an actual carbon storage facility would be feasible,” Kesterson said. “This grant is for Virginia Energy and its partners to validate the opportunity. If they do find that there is potential, there will be another phase where they test the actual storage process.”

Susan Cameron is a reporter for Cardinal News. She has been a newspaper journalist in Southwest Virginia...