Fossil fuels are considered the most dependable, cost-effective energy source in the world. The availability of these fuels to provide clean, affordable energy is essential for domestic and global prosperity and security well into the 21st century. However, a balance is needed between energy security and increasing concerns over the impacts due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere – particularly carbon dioxide (CO2).
A combined portfolio of carbon management options can be implemented to manage current emission levels while enhancing energy security and building the technologies and knowledge base for export to other countries faced with reducing emissions. The U.S. portfolio includes: (1) use fuels with reduced carbon intensity – renewables, nuclear, and natural gas; (2) adopt more efficient technologies on both the energy demand and supply sides; and (3) use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. CCS is a viable emission management option because numerous studies have shown that it can account for up to 55 percent of the emissions mitigation needed to stabilize and ultimately reduce concentrations of CO2.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched its Carbon Storage Program in 1997. Implemented by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) within DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE), the program is playing a lead role in CCS technology development and has made significant advances in the development of a broad range of effective and economically viable technologies. The Carbon Storage Program is comprised of three principal elements: Core R&D, Infrastructure, and Global Collaborations – the integration of these elements will address technological and marketplace challenges.
DOE's Carbon Storage Program has positioned the United States on a path toward ensuring that the enabling technologies will be available to affect broad CCS deployment within a decade. Continued U.S. leadership in technology development and future deployment is important to the cultivation of economic rewards and new business opportunities both domestically and abroad.
The following "Frequently Asked Questions" are intended to provide useful information on CCS, and may dispel misconceptions and myths about this multifaceted topic.