Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the U.S.

When the concept of carbon capture storage (CCS) was launched in the U.S in the spring of 2001 by newly elected President George W Bush, it became an immediate global political success. Since then then we have seen the development of new...

When the concept of carbon capture storage (CCS) was launched in the U.S in the spring of 2001 by newly elected President George W Bush, it became an immediate global political success. Since then then we have seen the development of new technologies and President Biden now putting innovation and technology as one of the
solutions to solve the climate crises. In the first three months of 2021, legislators in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate already introduced five bills that aim to accelerate the deployment of CCS. This is unique since all of the bills have bipartisan cosponsors and because of the short time-frame that the
bills were released. The five bills are:

The carbon oxide sequestration credit – 45Q – named after the relevant section in the U.S. tax code, is applicable to carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide, and carbon suboxide. The U.S. has a long history of providing energy tax credits to a variety of fuels and production methods.

A history of CCS Policy in the U.S.

The very first global CCS facility was developed in Texas in 1972. However, the U.S. congress did not begin allocating money for CCS research in the DoE’s Office of Fossil Energy until 1997. Figure 1 shows the history of CCS policy in the U.S. Beginning in 2008, two significant pieces of legislation led to the major growth of deployment. The first was the passage of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008. The second was the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 to pull the U.S. out of the Great Recession. Over the six years between 2011 and 2018, Congress invested $4 billion in appropriations (not including the $3.4 billion in ARRA supplemental appropriations) to DoE’s CCS RD&D program. The passage of the Energy Act of 2020 at the end of December gave CCS RD&D authorizations a dramatic boost back up to levels not seen since ARRA was passed. In total, $6.72 billion was authorized for CCS spending between FY2021 and FY2025 according to the Global CCS Institute.

Figure 1: Timeline of major CCS Policy [Ref: Global CCS Institute]

CCS facilities in the U.S.

The United States leads the world in the commercialization of carbon capture, removal, transport, utilization and storage (or carbon capture), and there is broad bipartisan support for capturing and utilizing CO2 and CO. The U.S. has 13 commercial-scale carbon capture facilities, with the capacity to capture about 25 million tons of CO2 annually, representing approximately half of the 26 commercial-scale carbon capture projects worldwide. In addition, the U.S. hosts the National Carbon Capture Center—a large public and privately backed test centre allowing new technology providers to test their technologies. They also have a history of demonstration and small-scale projects. A prime example is the demonstration of the Allam Cycle, a novel zero-emissions power-plant technology, at a 50 MWth facility in Texas.

In the three years since Congress revamped the federal 45Q tax credit, project developers and investors have announced over 30 carbon capture projects shown in Figure 2. They span multiple industry sectors, electric power, transportation fuels, and direct air capture technologies.

Figure 2: Publicly announced carbon capture projects in the United States that are currently under development [Ref: Carbon Capture Coalition]

Department of Energy initiatives

Since 1997, DoE’s Office of Fossil Energy’s Carbon Storage program has increased the CCS knowledge through a diverse number of applied research activities. The portfolio includes industry cost-shared technology development projects, university research grants, collaborative work with other national laboratories, and research conducted in-house through the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Research and Innovation Center.

The Carbon Storage Program is administered by the Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management. The primary focus of the Program going forward is on early-stage R&D to develop coupled simulation tools, characterization methods, and monitoring technologies.

The program is comprised of three primary components:

  1. Storage Infrastructure,
  2. Core Storage Research and Development, and
  3. Strategic Program Support.

Key Program goals include:

  • Determining the CO2 storage resource potential of on and offshore oil, gas, and saline bearing formations
  • Improving carbon storage efficiency and security by advancing new and early-stage monitoring tools and models
  • Improving capabilities to evaluate and manage environmental risks and uncertainty through integrated risk-based strategic monitoring and mitigation protocols
  • Disseminating findings and lessons learned to the broader CCS community and key stakeholders

The following link presents the Carbon Storage Program documents and reference materials.

This Technology Compendium provides a technical summary of DoE/NETL’s Carbon Capture Program, assembling CO2 capture technology R&D descriptions for 132 projects in a single document.

Moreover, to support the development of regional infrastructure for carbon capture and storage, DoE created a network of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSPs). Numerous applied research technologies have been integrated into these projects and the results have been essential in further technology development of CCS.

The DoE’s Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise Initiative – known as CarbonSAFE has shown great results by developing geologic storage for 50 million tonnes and more.

We expect an interesting period related to CCS the coming years and will follow the development closely. As always, we welcome you to contact us if you want to discuss this further.

Henric Johnson