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NETL Develops Flexible Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Analysis Tools and Resources
Carbon Capture

A first-of-its-kind suite of tools developed by NETL researchers is enabling better decision-making regarding the economic challenges of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and helping stakeholders to effectively evaluate the costs of implementing these technologies in electric power and industrial plants.

The new tools and resources offer a step toward widespread implementation of CCUS technologies, which is an important strategy for mitigating CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-based power generation and industrial sources.

CCUS is considered one of the nation’s more promising strategies for managing and reducing manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The components of CCUS involve separating and capturing CO2 from fossil fuel-based power generation and industrial sources and transporting it to a deep saline storage site or an oil field that can employ CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to increase oil production. Upon completion of EOR operations, the injected CO2 remains stored in the subsurface. Some major obstacles to widespread utilization of CCUS technologies is understanding how the various components (capture, transport and storage) fit together and the costs of the individual components and larger integrated systems.

To address these challenges, NETL’s comprehensive suite of digital tools and resources can effectively evaluate CCUS costs during each step of the value chain. The flexible design of these tools and resources allows users to customize analyses as technologies advance, policies change or new policies are enacted.

The publicly available tools and resources include:


The CCRDs, CO2 Transport Cost Model and CO2 Storage Cost Model and simplified versions of these resources have been incorporated in the CO2 Capture, Transport, Utilization and Storage (CTUS) module, which is part of the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). NEMS is an energy and economic model of the U.S. energy system and is maintained by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA uses NEMS to generate the Annual Energy Outlook, a key document for policy makers in the federal government. Having the CTUS module in NEMS has allowed policies that foster CCUS implementation to be evaluated in a realistic manner.

Assessment tools and resources that can be integrated together can provide insight into identifying the most cost-effective CCUS techniques. The cost and associated cost drivers of CCUS are expected to evolve differently over time, so flexible and customizable tools and resources that can model each component separately allow for more accurate prediction of the true economics of CCUS. NETL conducted two successful analyses using the above tools and resources: Quality Guidelines for Energy System Studies: Carbon Dioxide Transport and Storage Costs in NETL Studies, which estimates transport and storage costs in deep saline aquifers for power plant locations used in NETL energy system studies; and Comparative Analysis of Transport and Storage Options from a CO2 Source Perspective, which evaluates integrated CCUS costs from the perspective of a CO2 source.

NETL researchers are also developing additional tools and resources, including techno-economic models for offshore CO2 saline storage, onshore CO2 EOR and offshore CO2 EOR. These tools and resources will be released to the public upon completion.

From estimating costs to accounting for a variety of policy and regulation constraints, the flexibility and adaptability of NETL’s CCUS tools and resources are critical in addressing challenges and acclimating to the changing factors that influence CCUS implementation. Visit the Energy Analysis page to learn more about NETL’s capabilities in this area.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory develops and commercializes advanced technologies that provide reliable and affordable solutions to America's energy challenges. NETL’s work supports DOE’s mission to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States.