On the sustainability of CO2 storage through CO2 – Enhanced oil recovery

R. Farajzadeh*, A. A. Eftekhari, G. Dafnomilis, L. W. Lake, J. Bruining

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)
144 Downloads (Pure)


This work uses pilot examples of CO2 enhanced oil recovery to analyze whether and under which circumstances it is exergetically favorable to sequester CO2 through enhanced oil recovery. We find that the net storage efficiency (ratio between the stored and captured CO2) of the carbon capture and storage (CCS)-only projects is maximally 6–56% depending on the fuel used in the power plants. With the current state of technology, the CCS process will re-emit a minimum of 0.43–0.94 kg of CO2 per kg of CO2 stored. From thermodynamics point of view, CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) with CCS option is not sustainable, i.e., during the life cycle of the process more energy is consumed than the energy produced from oil. For the CCS to be efficient in reducing CO2 levels (1) the exergetic cost of CO2 separation from flue gas should be reduced, and/or (2) the capture process should not lead to additional carbon emission. Furthermore, we find that the exergy recovery factor of CO2-EOR depends on the CO2 utilization factor, which is currently in the low range of 2–4 bbl/tCO2 based on the field data. Exergetically, CO2 EOR with storage option produces 30–40% less exergy compared to conventional CO2 enhanced oil recovery projects with CO2 supplied from natural sources; however, this leads to storage of >400 kg of extra CO2 per barrel of oil produced.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114467
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Climate change
  • CO storage
  • CO utilization factor
  • CO-EOR
  • Exergy analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'On the sustainability of CO2 storage through CO2 – Enhanced oil recovery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this