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NETL Research Suggests Tailored, Regional Approach for Carbon Capture and Storage in Central and Eastern U.S.
Animated depiction of a carbon storage facility.

A recent NETL analysis of the Central United States, which divided the region into three impact areas to explore variables associated with transporting and storing captured CO2, found that geographic differences had significant impacts on costs and provided a framework to evaluate these impacts.

“While carbon capture and storage (CCS) is considered a capable carbon management strategy, the geographical and geological impact of a region on source-to-sink integration is often overlooked when evaluating the technology,” said NETL’s Tim Grant. “The Central United States has an abundance of CO2-generating sources that would likely require tailored approaches to provide low-cost CO2 management. This analysis explored options a CO2 source faces when selecting a low-cost transport and storage combination for its captured CO2.”

In this research, each regional area provided the means to design a CCS network that could connect different source types at hypothetical locations with geologic storage reservoirs through either a dedicated pipeline connecting a single source to a single storage reservoir site or a trunkline network consisting of pipeline segments and hubs connecting multiple sources to multiple storage reservoir sites. The analysis resulted in the evaluation of more than 100 integrated source-to-sink matching scenarios. The results highlight the significance of the location and type of the CO2 source, capture rate of a CO2 source, quality of the saline storage reservoir, and distance between source and sink on overall costs.

“Overall, results indicated that each CCS cost component is significantly affected by a source’s location and sometimes a trunkline network does not provide the best option — for example, when the transport distance is less than 30 miles,” Grant said.

Specific outcomes from this analysis revealed that:

  • Source location and the amount of emissions play a role in selection of storage site and transportation for low overall CCS costs.
  • A trunkline network reduces costs for sources, especially for small sources, bringing distant, better quality storage sites within economic reach.
  • Development of CCS networks will be at a regional scale.

NETL researchers also developed an informative poster to help express this research at the 2023 Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management/NETL Carbon Management Research Project Review Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A presentation is also available on this topic that was developed for the Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage 2023 conference.

This research into the Central U.S. was based on a previous NETL analysis that focused on regions east of the Mississippi. A report summarizing this work, titled “Comparative Analysis of Transport and Storage Options from a CO2 Source Perspective,” evaluated integrated CCS costs (capture, transport, and storage) from the perspective of a CO2 source. This earlier work provided some of the methodology applied to the Central U.S. analysis.

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.