By Velda Addison, Hart Energy

The next breakthrough in carbon dioxide storage technology could be just around the corner. And now, companies involved in creating such technologies have millions of dollars more to use toward their research projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory has selected nine projects to receive funding to research carbon dioxide storage intelligent monitoring systems and well integrity. Geologic storage of carbon dioxide involves injecting the carbon dioxide into deep formations, which are sealed to prevent the gas from escaping.

Who is up for the challenge?

Schlumberger, Chevron, Shell Global Solutions and Baker Hughes are among the companies that have partnered with the nine universities and institutes, according to the DOE’s news release.

The University of North Dakota has teamed up with Schlumberger, Computer Modeling Group, Petroleum Technology Research Centre and the CETER Group to research ways to automate carbon dioxide storage site monitoring, which could improve operational management.

The oilfield service provider is also partnering with Archer Daniels Midland in Decatur, Ill., to study use of a permanent seismic monitoring network to forecast reservoir conditions. Other project partners include the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sillixa Ltd., the U.S. Geological Survey, Richland Community College and the Illinois State Geological Society.

Schlumberger, along with Shell Global Solutions International, are among those partnering with Montana State University, the DOE said. The university is focusing on mineralization techniques for sealing wells to prevent carbon dioxide leakage.

Los Alamos National Security in New Mexico is tackling fracture defects in wellbore cement. Its project involves technology that uses acoustic probes and 3-D scanners to find and monitor leaks. Chevron, the University of New Mexico and the Sandia National Laboratory are project partners.

The energy capital of the world—Houston—is also in on the action. C-Crete Technologies with partners Rice University and Baker Hughes Inc. are studying use of how nanoparticles and nanocomposites in sealant products can lead to new carbon dioxide barrier technologies.

The University of Texas at Austin, the only funding recipient with no project partners, is working on a monitoring system that tracks the movement of injected carbon dioxide through storage reservoirs.

Other recipients include the University of Colorado in Boulder, the University of Virginia and the Battelle Memorial Institute.

The efforts could go a long way in helping to reduce emission of the greenhouse gas known to harm the environment and human health.

The oil and gas industry has already made strides in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, which the American Petroleum Institute says has dropped to 27-year lows at hydraulically fractured natural gas wells. But here is another opportunity to further improve those stats.

Velda Addison can be reached at or via Twitter @veldaaddison.