The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) NETL-led Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) Initiative has funded 24 and is currently negotiating 20 additional projects around the country to address key gaps on the critical path toward commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) deployment. These projects are the first of many, that will de-risk geologic storage capacity across the United States (US), while initiating the storage infrastructure of the future. The commercialization of the technologies developed through these projects will create new job opportunities while addressing the effects of climate change.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are fueling global warming, which has increased the threat of droughts, severe fires, rising sea levels, floods, catastrophic storms, and declining biodiversity. The projects pursued by the CarbonSAFE Initiative aim to permanently store hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 emissions every year.
“With increasingly destructive weather phenomena and wildfires, like those we’ve seen on Maui, efforts like the CarbonSAFE Initiative have never been more important,” said Sean Plasynski, NETL acting director. “With some of the most talented scientists and engineers in the world, NETL and DOE’s other national labs are committed to realizing the administration’s goals of a decarbonized energy sector and economy.”
The CarbonSAFE Initiative began in 2016, representing the culmination of decades of advanced research in the DOE Carbon Storage Program, implemented by NETL. Building upon the knowledge and experience of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships’ (RCSPs’) efforts, this initiative is setting the stage for commercial scale carbon storage. The vision of CarbonSAFE is to understand the development of a CCS storage complex from the feasibility study until the point of injection through the following phases of project progress: Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Pre-Feasibility, Storage Complex Feasibility, Site Characterization and Permitting, and, ultimately, Construction.
The CarbonSAFE Initiative will reduce technical risk, uncertainty, and the cost of commercial-scale saline storage projects. Results will improve the understanding of project screening, site selection, characterization, baseline monitoring, verification, and accounting procedures, and information necessary to submit appropriate permit applications for such projects.
The development of new and expanded large-scale, commercial carbon storage projects with capacities to securely store more than 50 million metric tons of CO2 is a key facet of CarbonSAFE. As can be seen in the map below, projects to date are already providing regional solutions throughout the U.S. As additional CarbonSAFE projects are selected, they will support a portfolio of carbon management development in the future.
Lessons learned from these projects and others within the CarbonSAFE Initiative will continue the push toward commercialization of carbon storage. The CarbonSAFE Initiative continues to grow by soliciting new projects via a $2.25 billion funding opportunity announcement from DOE. Projects selected for funding must carefully address the societal considerations and impacts of their proposed projects, emphasizing active engagement with communities.
Applicants must explain how projects are expected to deliver economic and environmental benefits and mitigate impacts; conduct community and stakeholder engagement; incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; and promote workforce development and quality jobs. The selected projects are required to develop and implement strategies to ensure strong community and worker benefits.
NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.