Carbon storage


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the separation and capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the emissions of industrial processes prior to release into the atmosphere and storage of the CO2 in deep underground geologic formations.

CCS enables industry to continue to operate while emitting fewer greenhouse gasses, making it a powerful tool for addressing mitigation of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere. However, storage must be safe, environmentally sustainable, and cost-effective. Suitable storage formations can occur in both onshore and offshore settings, and each type of geologic formation presents different opportunities and challenges. Geologic storage is defined as the placement of CO2 into a subsurface formation so that it will remain safely and permanently stored. DOE is investigating five types of underground formations for geologic carbon storage:

  1. Saline formations
  2. Oil and natural gas reservoirs
  3. Unmineable coal areas
  4. Organic-rich shales
  5. Basalt formations

Carbon storage diagram showing CO2 injection into a saline formation while
producing brine for beneficial use. (click image to enlarge)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Storage Program is conducting research and development on carbon capture and storage, developing Best Practice Manuals (BPMs) including BPMs on:

Myth: Carbon capture and storage is not a feasible way to reduce human CO2 emissions.
Reality: Developing the technologies and know how to successfully capture and store CO2 emissions will allow for a viable industry that will reduce the human contribution to atmospheric CO2 levels.

What types of characteristics make for a suitable CO2 storage site?