WASHINGTON, DC - The Department of Energy's Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships have identified the powerplant and other stationary sources of more than 3.8 billion tons a year of the greenhouse gas CO2 in the United States and Canada and companion candidate storage capacity for more than 3,500 billion tons. The results are detailed in the new Carbon Sequestration Atlas of the United States and Canada which became available online today.
In contrast, U.S. emissions of CO2 from such sources in 2004 were approximately 3.4 billion tons of a total of almost 6 billion tons. Another 2.5 billion tons came from small sources not subject to capture, including transportation.
"The Carbon Sequestration Atlas is a long step forward for the United States in the President's initiatives to begin reducing the greenhouse gas CO2," Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy Thomas Shope said. "I commend the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships and the National Energy Technology Laboratory and all involved for the speed and thoroughness with which they completed what is an important survey.
"Storage is the critical step in dealing with CO2," he went on. "It does little good to be able to capture CO2 if you don't have the means of storing it safely and for the long-term. This exhaustive survey puts the U.S. in the vanguard of international efforts to find practical and constructive ways of coming to terms with greenhouse gases."
Created by the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory, the Atlas was developed jointly with the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships, and the National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographical Information System (NATCARB). Its main purposes are to:
- Provide an overview of the lifecycle of CO2 through the capture and sequestration processes.
- Summarize the Energy Department's activities in sequestration research and development.
- Present information about the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships' activities.
Emissions of CO2 have increased from an insignificant level two centuries ago to more than 30 billion tons worldwide today. If no effort is made to reduce CO2 emissions, yearly release from the United States could increase by one third from 2005 to 2030. Carbon capture and sequestration can help reduce this growth by capturing CO2 before it is emitted into the atmosphere and safely storing it in geologic formations, soils and vegetation, or in other environmentally safe forms.
The Office of Fossil Energy supports a number of carbon sequestration initiatives including a vigorous research and technology development program. The atlas will aid these efforts by providing maps and information at both national and regional levels, including:
- CO2 stationary emission sites, such as powerplants, refineries, and other fossil-fuel-consuming industries.
- Geologic formations suitable for permanent CO2 sequestration.
- Capacity estimates of CO2 storage in these various geologic formations.
The Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership program, which draws from seven distinct regions in the United States and Canada, was formed by DOE in 2003 as a response to the geographic differences in fossil fuel use and sequestration potential. Funded through NETL, the program consists of government agencies, universities, and private companies - more than 400 organizations, including 40 states, 4 Canadian provinces, and 3 Indian Nations.
The atlas is being published in both static and interactive versions. The interactive version, a frequently updated resource, is located at the NATCARB website. The NATCARB project is funded by NETL and maintained by the University of Kansas Geologic Survey; project data is maintained and enhanced locally at the Regional Partnership level.
The static version of the Atlas is available for viewing and is downloadable today at the NETL web site. The same information will be available in printed form in May 2007. Both versions will be updated every two years.