DOE to Begin Phase II of Carbon Sequestration Program

The Department of Energy announced the release of a solicitation for the second phase of its Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program. The solicitation will provide up to $100 million over 4 years in federal funds for partnerships of state agencies, universities, private companies, and national laboratories that will field test and validate promising carbon sequestration technologies.

"When the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership program was initiated two years ago, these regionally-focused efforts were envisioned as the centerpiece of our carbon sequestration program," Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. "This new solicitation says they have lived up to their promise by helping us determine the technologies, permitting requirements, and infrastructure best suited for specific regions of the country."

"Carbon sequestration" is the term given to a family of methods for removing greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), from power plant emissions or from the air itself, and securely storing the gases in geologic formations, in soils and vegetation, or in other environmentally safe forms. Geographical differences in fossil fuel use and sequestration options across the United States dictate that regional approaches are required to address the sequestration of CO2.

Seven partnerships -- which now include more than 160 organizations spanning 40 states, three Indian nations, and two Canadian provinces -- were formed during phase I of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership program to assess the sequestration options best suited to their regions. The 40 states in the phase I partnerships encompass 97 percent of coal-fired CO2 emissions, 96.5 percent of industrial CO2 emissions, 96 percent of the total land mass, and essentially all of the geologic sinks in the United States that could potentially be used for carbon sequestration.

The partnerships selected under the new solicitation will build upon the work of the phase I partnerships and other organizations engaged in similar activities. While focusing on field validation tests at regional locations with the greatest promise of storing large quantities of CO2, the teams will also prove the environmental efficacy of sequestration, verify regional CO2 sequestration capacities, satisfy project permitting requirements, and conduct public outreach and education activities.

The Energy Department anticipates approximately seven phase II partnerships. Federal funding for each partnership is expected to be $2 million to $4 million per partnership per year, depending on factors such as duration, scope, and number of technology validation projects proposed within a region. Each partnership will be required to provide at least 20 percent in cost-sharing over the duration of the project.

The regional partnerships provide a critical link to the Administration's plans for FutureGen, a highly efficient and technologically sophisticated coal-fired power plant that will produce both hydrogen and electricity, with near-zero emissions. Phase II of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership program will provide knowledge required for wide-scale deployment of FutureGen technologies.

The accomplishments made during phase II of the program will provide a summary of deployment opportunities for carbon sequestration technologies throughout the United States. At the end of phase II, DOE will consider an optional phase III effort contingent upon continued importance of the program to the FutureGen initiative, the need for validation of additional sequestration sites in the United States, and budget availability.
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