WRI Releases Technical Road Map for Carbon Capture and Storage Projects

WRI Releases Technical Road Map for Carbon Capture and Storage Projects

The U.S. possesses the technical expertise needed to begin full-scale carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) demonstrations and should start immediately, according to a diverse group of stakeholders releasing project guidelines today.

The World Resources Institute (WRI) led the development of the "Guidelines for CO2 Carbon Capture, Transport, and Storage" with more than 80 stakeholders to offer Congress and regulators a road map to begin the projects. It seeks to address CCS project concerns involving safety, environmental impacts, infrastructure and site selection.

"We need to move forward with full-scale demonstrations," said Sarah Forbes, a senior associate at WRI and the report's lead author. "We have a sub-base of knowledge to move forward."

The guidelines are a response to the notion that CCS is part of a broad arsenal of technologies needed to both reduce fossil fuel-related greenhouse gas emissions and meet future energy demands. Generally, CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other point sources before compressing, transporting and injecting it deep into the earth.

One of the biggest obstacles facing CCS projects is the cost. "The economics of deploying the technology at scale are uncertain," she said.

A recent report from the International Energy Agency recommends governments around the world invest up to $20 billion for near-term CCS demonstrations. It warned that delaying investment will drive the price tag higher in the future.

Every site is different, Forbes said, and the guidelines discuss how to select a proper site, execute an injection and verify the safety of the underground storage.

The guidelines will evolve to reflect new best practices. It also identifies several areas for additional research and guidelines, such as engaging local communities in CCS design and implementation, compensating property owners for pipeline and pore space ownership, upstream impacts from increased coal use, and public right-to-know disclosure.