A preliminary evaluation of the CO2 storage potential in unminable coal seams of the Münster Cretaceous Basin, Germany

Alexander Kronimus*, Andreas Busch, Sascha Alles, Dierk Juch, Anke Jurisch, Ralf Littke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The Münster Cretaceous Basin is a synclinal structure containing Upper Cretaceous sediments of local thickness exceeding 1700 m, partially covered by Cenozoic deposits. The underlying basement consists of deep Carboniferous strata with interbedded hard coal seams. The Cretaceous sequence can be subdivided into the Cenomanian-Turonian-Complex, representing a brine aquifer, and the overlying 'Emscher Mergel' (clayey marl), separating the brine from shallow freshwater aquifers. This geological setting potentially offers favourable conditions for geological storage of CO2 by physical sorption in the coal seams below the 'Emscher Mergel' cap rock formation. This storage option could be combined with the production of coalbed methane (CBM), by means of application of a CO2-enhanced coalbed methane (ECBM) strategy. A potential storage area of 820 km2 has been identified by considering local geological, hydrogeological and tectonic settings. This regional study was complemented by the analysis of carbon isotope signatures of CH4 and CO2 in shallow aquifers and concentration profiles of methane-in-place. Using the Coal Inventory Calculation Model (KVB-model) of the Geological Survey (GD) of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, coal volumes within the study area have been estimated to amount to 37.5 × 109 metric tons. High-pressure CO2 sorption isotherms measured on a selected coal sample at different temperatures were used to estimate the sorptive storage capacity of this coal at the pressure and temperature conditions in the seams. Assuming an accessibility of 40% of the total coal as well as a methane-in-place recovery efficiency of 80%, a maximum CO2 storage potential of 160 million metric tons of CO2 was estimated for the coal seams down to a depth of 3000 m. However, the application of ECBM is restricted due to the low permeabilities and large depth of the coal deposits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-341
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Cap rock
  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
  • CO
  • Coal seams
  • Coalbed methane
  • ECBM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Pollution
  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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