Montana Emergent Technologies, Inc. Receives $1,000,000 Contract Award from DOE for its Phase II STTR Biomineralization Research Project

On July 29, 2014, Montana Emergent Technologies, Inc. (MET) received a $1,000,000 contract award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SBIR and STTR Programs Office.  MET, teaming with researchers at the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University, had submitted its Phase II STTR proposal to the DOE in April 2014.  The total value of the Phase II proposal is $1,000,000, and includes a substantial subcontract to MSU.  The grant award number is DE-SC0010099, Modification #0001.  This submission follows successful completion of the $150,000 FY 2013 Phase I, Release 2 STTR award from the DOE (contract #DE-FG02-13ER86571).

The project is entitled "Using Biomineralization Sealing for Leakage Mitigation in Shale during CO2 Sequestration”.  The technology is based on the ability of microorganisms to produce calcium carbonate minerals to permanently seal leakage pathways.  MSU researchers are already developing the technology for sandstone formations, and the STTR extends that work to shale formations.  This biomineralization technology offers the ability to seal leaking wells along with fractured shale in the vicinity of leaking wells, and make CO2 sequestration permanent at reduced cost. The technology is illustrated in the figures below.  MET believes the technology has high potential for commercialization, particularly in the oil and gas industry operations in shale formations, such as the Bakken, Woodford, Barnett, and Marcellus formations. In addition,  MET believes that commercialization opportunities in the oil and gas industry extend well beyond the sealing of wells and fractures adjacent to wells.

The Phase I project ran from June 2013 through March 2014.  This Phase II project will run from July 2014 to July 2016.  The Phase II project will further develop the technology to the point where it is fully ready for field application.  The Principal Investigator for the project is Dr. Robin Gerlach, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at MSU.  MET Vice President Randy Hiebert is the Project Engineer.  Please contact Mr. Hiebert (rhiebert@mt-emergent.com) for further information.

Technology Description:
Schematic of CO2 injection, migration, and interaction with surrounding abandoned wells. (A) Shows the injected CO2 plume (in the supercritical state) migrating away from the injection well and encountering a leaky well. (B) This STTR project focuses on cap rocks composed of shale, which have possibly been fractured in the immediate vicinity of well bores—thereby providing pathways for unwanted upward migration of CO2. The biomineralization sealing technology developed herein will be applied to seal these preferential flow paths including fractures in the shale, cracks in well cement and delaminations between cement, well casing and caprock. (C) If abandoned wells are cased, then perforation channels will need to be installed to allow communication of the biomineralizing fluids with the environment outside the well. 




Montana Emergent Technologies, Inc.
160 W. Granite St.
Butte, MT  59701

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