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Helping to Ensure Successful Geologic Carbon Storage with CO2-SCREEN

To meet aggressive decarbonization goals set by the Biden Administration in the fight against climate change, NETL has developed toolsets such as the Lab’s CO2-SCREEN (Storage prospeCtive Resource Estimation Excel aNalysis) to advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology development and deployment.

CO2-SCREEN provides reliable and accurate carbon dioxide (CO2) storage estimates for a wide variety of geological formations, allowing governments, industries and other stakeholders, including local communities, to confidently explore geologic carbon sequestration (GCS) options that will help achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the electric sector by 2035 and the broader economy by 2050.

“Geologic formations found deep underground offer promising repositories for safe and effective storage of large volumes of anthropogenic CO2,” said Angela Goodman, Ph.D., who developed the tool with her colleague Sean Sanguinito. “However, subsurface geologic systems are inherently variable and often poorly characterized. The scarcity of appropriate data makes it difficult to know with certainty how a system will respond to large‐scale injection and storage of CO2.”

GCS operations must remain safe and secure for hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years, so these uncertainties and potential liabilities must be mitigated as much as possible if CCS technologies are to be commercialized. As stakeholders explore GCS options, investors need robust, transparent, and science-based tools to understand the range of potential environmental risk behaviors at CO2 storage sites over time.

“This is where CO2-SCREEN makes a difference,” Goodman said. “The purpose of the toolset is to estimate prospective CO2 storage sites to reduce uncertainties of CCS projects for policymakers and stakeholders, making the planning and execution of these projects easier and less risky. It achieves this by providing rapid and reliable subsurface CO2 storage site parameter estimates.”

The foundation of CO2-SCREEN was built on a decade of robust CO2 storage equations and stochastic methods developed by the U.S. Department of Energy for estimating prospective CO2 storage site locations. It is open-source, free and available for download by the public and can be used with limited or detailed data sets.

For example, the tool, which provides estimates at the national-, regional-, basin- and formation-scale, can be applied at the initial screening stages of a project using only limited publicly available geophysical data to provide a preliminary estimate. The tool can be used to refine the estimate and reduce its uncertainty as the project progresses to the commercial scale as site-specific geophysical data become more readily available. It also provides a consistent method to calculate CO2 storage potential while allowing for direct comparison of prospective CO2 storage estimates between a variety of organizations, including government agencies and independent research studies.

“Since its release, CO2-SCREEN and its methods have been downloaded more than 400 times and cited nearly 200 times in peer-reviewed journals,” Goodman said. “The tool has been applied by academia, governments and industry both domestically and internationally, so our impact is truly global, which is necessary in the fight against climate change.”

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.