Sarah Leung, Darin Damiani, John Litynski, US Department of Energy; Mark McKoy, National Energy Technology Laboratory
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) is committed to supporting the US goal of achieving net zero CO₂ emissions by 2050. A critical contribution from FECM to help meet this goal is to catalyze the growth of the carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry. In 2016, FECM launched the Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) Initiative, which is taking a phased approached to developing commercial-scale CO₂ storage facilities, each with proven capacities to store more than 50 million metric tons of CO₂ in 30 years. The CarbonSAFE phases consist of Phase I – Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Pre-Feasibility; Phase II – Storage Complex Feasibility; Phase III – Site Characterization, Permitting, and CO₂ Capture Assessment; and Phase IV – Construction. CarbonSAFE Phase IV projects will conclude when the industry partner receives an authorization to inject from the regulator.
The CarbonSAFE Initiative was designed to build from the lessons learned from the FECM-supported Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships and other R&D efforts to validate storage technologies and demonstrate the viability of secure and reliable storage. The technical challenge CarbonSAFE projects are addressing is how to scale up the experience of the RCSP CO₂ injection tests by an order of magnitude or more. At present, five CarbonSAFE Phase III projects are evaluating six storage sites and will apply for at least seven EPA Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class VI permits in Illinois, North Dakota, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Mississippi. The alignment of these projects with five of the nine sites for the DOE Carbon Capture Program’s front-end engineering and design (FEED) studies represents an integrated strategy as the foundation for regional CO₂ hubs anchored by these CarbonSAFE facilities. Once these sites acquire a Class VI permit, they will represent at least 250 million metric tons of commercial storage capacity in the United States ready for storage operations. This infrastructure and national expansion of proven storage facilities will catalyze the development of a robust CCUS industry in the U.S. as projects become more efficient and less expensive over time, with stable business models and greater confidence by operators, investors, regulators, and the public.