manage co2 emissions

What are people doing now to manage CO2?

  SECARB injection operations at the Mississippi
test site in Escatawpa, Mississippi.

A combined portfolio of carbon management options is being implemented to reduce current emission levels associated with energy production 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
  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 carbon dioxide (CO2).

Since 1997, DOE’s Carbon Storage Program has significantly advanced the CCS knowledge base in selected technology areas through a diverse portfolio of applied research projects. The portfolio includes cost-shared, industry-led, technology development projects; university research grants; collaborative work with other national laboratories; and research conducted in-house through NETL’s Research & Innovation Center. Although permanent CO2 storage in geologic formations looks promising as an option for reducing CO2 emissions, this approach may not be viable for all CO2 emitters and could result in no economic benefit at significant cost. Therefore, it is also highly desirable to develop alternatives that can use captured CO2 or convert it to a useful product, such as a fuel, chemical, or plastic, with revenue from the CO2 use offsetting a portion of the CO2 capture cost.

Terrestrial storage is the uptake of CO2 by soils and plants.  

Another option for carbon management is terrestrial storage, which is defined as the uptake of CO2 by soils and plants. Activities such as tree planting, no-till farming, wetlands restoration, land management on grasslands and grazing land, and forest preservation all provide opportunities to increase the CO2 storage.

Although there is no current enacted Federal legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, states and regions across the country are adopting climate policies. These actions include the development of regional GHG reduction markets, the creation of state and local climate action and adaptation plans, and increasing renewable energy generation. In addition to addressing climate change, states and regions pursue these policies to reduce their vulnerability to energy price spikes, promote state economic development, and improve local air quality. State and regional climate policy could provide models for future national efforts, achieve GHG emissions reductions, and prepare for the impacts of climate change. For example, 31 states and the District of Columbia have adopted electricity portfolio standards. These standards require that a certain percentage of electricity generated must come from qualifying sources that may include renewable, nuclear power, and fossil fuel-fired power plants with CCS.

Myth: There are a limited number of ways to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions from energy production.
Reality: There are a wide variety of options to reduce GHG emissions from energy production, including CCS. Although there is no Federal legislation in place to reduce emissions, some states have adopted mandatory policies to reduce these emissions.