DOE Celebrates Success of Carbon Sequestration Partnerships

A report released by the Department of Energy details the success of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships in laying the groundwork for field testing and verifying carbon sequestration technologies in the near term.

"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," Mark Maddox, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy said. "Their accomplishments have provided the impetus to move carbon sequestration technologies forward by providing the key regulatory, infrastructure, and site-related information for capturing and permanently storing gases that can contribute to global climate change."

The Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships Phase I Accomplishments report outlines the six main achievements of the program:

  • Established a national network of companies and professionals working to support sequestration efforts.
  • Created a carbon sequestration atlas for the United States.
  • Obtained an improved understanding of the permitting requirements that future sequestration projects will be required to meet.
  • Raised awareness and support for carbon sequestration as a greenhouse gas mitigation option, both within industry and the general public.
  • Identified and vetted priority opportunities for sequestration field tests.
  • Established a series of protocols for project implementation, accounting, and contracts for projects that would result in verifiable carbon credits.

In addition to establishing a national network of more than 240 organizations spanning 40 states, three Indian nations, and four Canadian province, the seven regional partnerships have built a framework to begin validating and deploying carbon sequestration technologies by studying sequestration approaches that have emerged in the last few years, determining those best suited for their specific regions of the country, and studying regulations and infrastructure requirements that each region needs to implement sequestration projects.

The partnerships have accumulated a wealth of geographic and geological data and information relevant to sequestration efforts. Regional partners have created and maintain the only national carbon sequestration portal for matching CO2 sources with nearby sinks—geologic and terrestrial sequestration sites—in the United States. This Internet portal, called NATCARB, was developed by the University of Kansas and brings together data from every partnership region into one convenient location. The portal is updated regularly by region, and is available to the general public through their website,

Regional partners have also improved their understanding of permitting requirements to facilitate the best approach for field testing and commercial sequestration projects. In collaboration with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, regional partners developed a permitting model for transportation and geologic sequestration, based on a review of the existing regulatory structure for enhanced CO2 oil recovery efforts, and an assessment of the gaps to be addressed.

The input of the public on these efforts are key to the program's success, and partnerships convened outreach efforts across the U.S. to raise awareness and support for sequestration as an option for mitigating greenhouse gases. Partners held public meetings, briefings, and open dialogues with local industries, Indian tribes, government officials, civic organizations, and other stakeholders to improve awareness and understanding of the issue of climate change and sequestration, and to solicit public views that shaped the models that will be used to develop approaches for capturing and permanently storing greenhouse gases.

Working in connection with voluntary state-level greenhouse gas reporting organizations, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange, C-Lock, and the California Registry, regional partners established a series of implementation, accounting, and contract protocols for future geologic sequestration projects. They have already put to work measurement, monitoring and verification standards, third-party verification requirements, and guidelines for current terrestrial sequestration projects.

Building on the success of their outreach and research efforts, partners have identified and examined opportunities for sequestration field tests where new technologies emerging from DOE's Carbon Sequestration R&D Program could be demonstrated. Possible sinks were studied and prioritized to pair them with point sources and current sequestration technologies. Projects were submitted as proposals for the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships Phase II solicitation, announced in December 2004. Field demonstration projects are expected to be awarded this summer.

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