LSU Researchers to Build AI System to assist in CO2 Storage

October 24, 2023

Environmental Sciences Professor Supratik Mukhopadhyay

Environmental Sciences Professor Supratik Mukhopadhyay

BATON ROUGE - Carbon Capture, utilization and Sequestration technology is shaping up to play an important role in the race to net-zero emissions. And, as an energy hub, Louisiana stands out as a destination for the technology, which is also known as CCuS.

Now, an interdisciplinary team from the LSU Department of Environmental Sciences is helping to ensure the success of CCuS projects in the state, by using artificial intelligence to help select safe, stable sites for the captured carbon to be injected and stored.

Their work is funded by the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation, as part of its mission to support research that solves the critical challenges of the energy transition.

DES Professor Supratik Mukhopadhyay, along with Assistant Professor Thomas Douthat, intends to build an AI system that will generate a “heat map” of potential locations around the state, based on a variety of factors. This map will be available to industry, government and the public. State Geologist Clare Falcon, who also serves as the Director of the Louisiana Geological Survey, will also be working on the project.

“This grant will support the initiation and development of a dynamic cross-disciplinary and inter-departmental research collaboration that will seek to explore the interconnectedness of multiple critical factors above ground and in the subsurface that have the capacity to influence CCuS site selection within Louisiana,” Falcon said. “I am excited about the possibilities of the co-development of this AI approach to initiate connections and engagement with a broad range of stakeholders including government, state agencies, Higher Education, industry/private sector and non-profit organizations.”

“Artificial intelligence is a transformative technology. Despite its recent boom, its potential, especially for countering climate change, has not been exploited. We are going to use AI for improved selection of injection sites that can enhance the success of CCuS projects thereby contributing towards net-zero goals,” said Mukhopadhyay.

He continued, “We are grateful for support from the Institute of Energy Innovation (IEI). IEI will prove to be a game changer for LSU and will make the State of Louisiana a powerhouse in CCuS.”

The Challenges of Site Selection

Site selection has always been a challenge in CCuS-- researchers must take into account everything from geological stability and the permeability of rock to an area’s weather and available roads. Various selection methods exist around the globe; none, however, use techniques that would easily translate onto the type of terrain that exists in Louisiana. Indeed, no standardized decision-making framework currently exists.

The AI support decision support system Mukhopadhyay plans to create will work in Louisiana and be applicable elsewhere. It would also, the project application notes, bring AI further into the field of human decision making.

Mukhopadhyay will train it on a wide variety of datasets giving information on conditions around the state, then fine tune the model using information from CCuS research from around the world. Environmental, health and safety constraints will be taken into account.

The AI system’s creators view it not just as an aid to companies looking to potentially expand their carbon capture storage into Louisiana, but as a job creator as well. They intend to create a workforce training program, including online courses, to help cement Louisiana’s status as a CCuS hub.

This focus on creating environmentally responsible energy while also developing the workforce is part of the core mission of the Institute for Energy Innovation, which works to bring scientists, engineers and public policy experts with industry, government and communities in Louisiana to work on research, development and demonstration projects and policy recommendations to secure the state’s energy future in alignment with LSU’s Scholarship First agenda.