WASHINGTON, DC - A panel of scientific experts from the International Energy Agency (IEA) has validated that the Department of Energy (DOE) Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP) and their large-scale CO2 tests are the world's most ambitious and will significantly advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the United States, Canada and internationally.
The IEA found that the seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships are unique in that no other country or region has initiated such an ambitious CCS effort. The panel's findings are important since the Partnerships, comprised of 41 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces, have entered the stage (Phase Three) where they are focusing on large-scale tests involving a million tons or more of CO2 injected annually.
The panel of scientific experts selected by the IEA from Europe, Canada and Australia determined that the RCSP's Phase Three-Deployment, is "an excellent program that will significantly advance and accelerate the field of CCS." The IEA's findings indicate that the projects are realistic, achievable and should be implemented immediately to benefit national and international governmental organizations that will be responsible for establishing CCS projects; they are comprehensive and together comprise a major research initiative; no other country or region is undertaking such an ambitious program; and that Phase Three is an excellent program that will achieve major results for the U.S., Canada and the world.
The RCSPs were launched by DOE in 2003 and form the centerpiece of national efforts to develop the infrastructure and knowledge base needed to place carbon sequestration technologies on the path to commercialization. DOE hopes to help develop the technology, infrastructure, and regulations to implement large-scale CO2 sequestration in different regions and geologic formations within the Nation and in Canada. The Regional Partnerships work with local organizations and citizens who contribute expertise, experience, and perspectives that more accurately represent the concerns and desires of a given region, thereby resulting in the development and application of technologies better suited to that region. Collectively, the seven RCSPs represent regions encompassing 97 percent of coal-fired CO2 emissions, 97 percent of industrial CO2 emissions, 96 percent of the total land mass, and essentially all the geologic sequestration sites in the U.S. potentially available for carbon storage.
During the first phase of the program, the Partnerships characterized the potential for CO2 storage in deep oil, gas, coal, and saline-bearing formations. In the program's second phase, the Partnerships implemented a portfolio of small-scale geologic sequestration projects. The purpose of these tests was to validate that different geologic formations have the injectivity, containment, and storage effectiveness needed for long-term sequestration.
In Phase Three, the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships are working to implement seven large-scale sequestration projects that will demonstrate the long-term, effective, and safe storage of CO2 in the major geologic formations throughout the United States and portions of Canada. This is a continuation of the 25 small-scale geologic storage tests that the Partnerships are implementing today. The locations of the large scale projects represent the major geologic basins throughout the United States and Canada.
Before undertaking Phase Three, DOE asked IEA's Greenhouse Gas Research & Development Program to assess both the Partnerships and Phase Three. The IEA was approached because of their extensive experience and evaluation of CO2 injection projects worldwide and experience in numerous independent technical reviews on behalf of member organizations.
Including the Partnerships, DOE's Carbon Sequestration Program has invested more than $480 million in CO2 since 1997. The current budget request is for an additional $149 million for FY 2009.