Carbon Capture and Storage Laser Talk

This page was updated on 01/15/2019 at 10:10 CST.

Question:  How does carbon capture and storage fit into this policy?

Answer:  Carbon dioxide (CO2) that is removed from an emissions source and then ‘sequestered’ from the atmosphere doesn’t contribute to global warming or ocean acidification. [1] That’s why the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act offers carbon fee refunds for CO2 captured and sequestered from fossil fuel combustion. Operators of the sequestration sites must guarantee the safety and permanence of their CO2 storage.

Various terms have been used in reference to this concept – ‘carbon capture’ or ‘CO2 capture’ for the first step, and ‘storage’ or ‘sequestration’ for the second. They all mean the same thing, and in all cases are referred to as ‘CCS’. The source of the CO2 could be a power plant, a refinery, a chemical plant, or any fossil-fueled source where CO2 would otherwise be vented to the atmosphere.

Scrubbing CO2 out of industrial gases is widely used for engineering purposes, [2] and limited amounts have been sold for enhanced oil recovery, [3] but CCS has not been practiced for environmental reasons because there is currently no financial reward for doing so. That will change with this policy.

Potential destinations for large amounts of CO2 are in depleted oil and gas reservoirs or deep underground formations where it gradually combines with existing minerals. [4] Recent research has also shown that a common rock called basalt can react with CO2 more quickly than previously expected. [5]

Many studies of potential routes to decarbonization, including REMI, [6] the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, [7] and the World Bank, [8] consider CCS as one of the technology options likely to play some role. If done safely and permanently, CCS can help cut emissions while facilitating an orderly transition away from fossil energy.

  1. “Carbon capture and storage.” Wikipedia (1 Jul 2018).
  2. Kohl, A. and R. Nielsen. Gas Purification – 5th, Chap. 2, 3, 5, and 14. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston Texas (1997).
  3. “Enhanced oil recovery.” Wikipedia (22 Nov 2018).
  4. Benson, S.M. and D.R. Cole. “CO2 Sequestration in Deep Sedimentary Formations.” Elements 4, 325-331 (Oct 2008).
  5. Xiong, W., et al. “CO2 Mineral Sequestration in Naturally Porous Basalt.” Sci. Technol. Lett. 5 (3), 142-147 (27 Feb 2018).
  6. Nystrom, S. and P. Luckow. “The Economic, Climate, Fiscal, Power, and Demographic Impact of a National Fee-and-Dividend Carbon Tax.” Regional Economic Models, Inc. and Synapse, Inc. (9 June 2014).
  7. Williams, J.H., et al. “Pathways to deep decarbonization in the United States: Revision with technical supplement.” SDSN-IDDRI. (16 Nov 2015).
  8. Fay, M., et al. Decarbonizing Development: Three Steps to a Zero-Carbon Future. World Bank (2015).

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