The U. S. DOE Carbon Storage Program

Authors: 
Rodosta, T., National Energy Technology Laboratory
Myer, L., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Fossil Energy Carbon Storage (CS) Program, implemented by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, is focused on applied research and development (R&D) to advance safe, cost effec­tive, permanent geologic storage of CO2.  Technologies developed through the CS Program will enable future commercialization of carbon capture and storage (CCS), as a means to mitigate CO2 emissions while supporting energy security in the United States.  These technologies will ensure storage permanence, support the ability to predict storage capacity, and improve storage efficiency while assuring containment effectiveness. DOE also promotes information and knowledge sharing through various avenues, including the development and distribution of Best-Practices Manuals (BPMs), which outline uniform approaches to address multiple storage-related issues and challenges, and a series of Atlases, which present updated information from the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Initiative.

The Carbon Storage Program is divided into four Technology Areas that are subdivided further into key technologies that are driven by technology needs from industry and others. Focused research in the key technologies is geared to meet commercial deployment in the 2025 and 2035 timeframes. Three Technology Areas are combined together to form the Core R&D research component, which focuses on early analytic studies and laboratory-scale research to develop solutions for Geologic Storage and Simulation and Risk Assessment technologies; Monitoring, Verification Accounting (MVA) and Assessment technologies;  and Carbon Use and Re-Use technologies. The fourth Technology Area which includes the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSPs) and other small- and large-volume field projects, represents the development of the infrastructure necessary for the deployment of geologic storage in clastics, carbonates, coal, shale and basalts. In addition, research efforts conducted through the Focus Area for Carbon Sequestration Science are a strategic effort to quickly assess current ongoing research and fill identified research gaps in all four Technology Areas.

The Carbon Storage Program is constructed such that new technologies and benefits from specific solutions developed in the Core R&D component are validated in the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (Infrastructure) component and, in turn, data gaps and lessons learned from small- and large-scale field projects are fed back to the Core R&D component to guide future R&D. The Focus Area for Carbon Sequestration sciences supports both components to fill critical research gaps. Finally, DOE views international engagement as a means to complement the national program, and accordingly, DOE is directly engaged in a number of large-scale geologic storage projects around the world, spanning five continents.  

The Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Initiative has successfully completed a Characterization Phase and Validation Phase, which involved eighteen small-scale geologic storage field projects. Currently, the RCSPs are conducting the Development Phase, involving eight large-scale (injection of approximately 1 million metric tons CO2) field projects. Characterization has been carried out, permits obtained, monitoring plans implemented, and injection is now underway in most of the Development Phase projects.

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