Welcome to the US Gulf Coast, home of CO2 storage
Date: 02 Oct 2013
Accessibility: Publicly available
Giant sedimentary basins underneath the United States have the capacity to store 500 years' worth of the country's energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, and the biggest are located in the traditional petroleum producing states along the Gulf Coast, according to U.S. government scientists. Capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from large stationary sources like power plants and cement factories and storing them deep underground in porous rock formations is "critical" for reducing greenhouse gases according to the International Energy Agency. "There is no climate friendly scenario in the long-run without carbon capture and storage (CCS)," the agency wrote earlier this year. The technologies to separate CO2 from the exhaust emissions of power plants and factories, compress it into a supercritical fluid, pipe it to a storage site, then pump it into rock formations thousands of feet below the surface are all moderately mature, though deployment has been slow. Nonetheless, the U.S. government report points to the enormous potential. In 2011, energy-related CO2 emissions in the United States amounted to 5.5 billion tonnes. But the country's vast sedimentary basins could potentially hold 3,000 billion tonnes, enough to sequester all the country's emissions for the next five centuries.