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NETL Releases Updated Version of CO2_T_COM Transport Cost Model
The new underground CO2 pipelines.

NETL has released an updated version of a tool to help decision makers, planners, and researchers calculate costs for installation of new underground CO2 pipelines.

NETL has released an updated version of its popular open-source tool that helps industry decision makers, planners, and researchers calculate the cost of transporting carbon dioxide (CO2) by pipeline from where it is captured to where it can be stored underground or converted into useful products.

The tool, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), known as the FECM/NETL CO2 Transport Cost Model (CO2_T_COM), is an Excel-based tool that estimates revenues and capital, operating, and financing costs for transporting liquid phase CO2 by pipeline.

The newest version of CO2_T_COM features a new algorithm for calculating the capital costs for natural gas pipelines as a function of pipeline length and diameter. Natural gas pipeline capital costs are the basis for calculating capital costs for CO2 pipelines in the model.

CO2_T_COM and its users’ manual are available here.

“CO2_T_COM allows users to specify the number of years the pipeline operates and several financial variables enabling the model to calculate the capital and operating costs for the pipeline,” NETL’s David Morgan explained. “Rather than having the user specify the number of pumps, the model can calculate the combination of standard pipeline diameter and number of booster pumps that gives the lowest cost of transporting the user specified CO2 mass flow rate.”

Morgan added that the new version retains the sheet named “Cases” that was introduced in the previous version of CO2_T_COM. This sheet enables users to define different combinations of pipeline length, average annual CO2 mass flow rate, capacity factor and elevation change along the pipeline and calculate costs for each combination. This allows users to explore and compare the costs associated with these different combinations of input variables.

Development of the tool is part of NETL’s work to facilitate and optimize a robust, national-scale CO2 transport infrastructure. The near-term goal for 2030 is to expand the nation’s capability to transport 65 million metric tons of CO2 per year. The long-term goal for 2050, aligned with a net-zero carbon emissions strategy by midcentury, is to ensure the capability to transport 1 gigatons of CO2 per year.

According to the Congressional Research Service, which provides policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of the U.S. House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation, “CO2 pipelines are essential components of carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems, which are proposed to reduce atmospheric emissions of man-made CO2, a greenhouse gas. Approximately 5,000 miles of pipeline already carry CO2 in the United States, primarily linking natural CO2 sources to oil fields where CO2 is used for enhanced oil recovery. However, a much larger pipeline network likely will be needed to meet national goals for greenhouse gas reduction.”

NETL also recently created the CCS Pipeline Route Planning Database to guide routing decisions and increase transportation safety. The CCS Pipeline Route Planning Database, is available through NETL's Energy Data eXchange (EDX®) and helps identify technical gaps, prioritized research needs, and tools to facilitate and optimize a robust, national-scale CO2 transportation infrastructure.

DOE’s Loan Programs Office, in partnership with FECM, offers access to capital for large-capacity, common-carrier CO2 transport projects such as pipelines, rail, shipping, and other transport methods under the Carbon Dioxide Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, as incorporated into the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021. 

NETL drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By using 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.