Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) - Statistics & Facts

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) (or carbon capture and sequestration) is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) and storing it in a site, primarily an underground geological formation, where it will not be able to enter the atmosphere. Injecting CO2 has been used for several decades, however, CCS technologies that aim for long-term storage of CO2 are still rather novel. A large share of the general public has not even heard of this technology. Since one of the first commercial CCS projects was established in 2000, there have been several large-scale CCS facilities opened and in operation around the world, as well as facilities in the advanced stages of planning.

In April 2017, the Petra Nova Plant in Texas was opened. This facility includes CCS during the coal burning process for electricity and uses the steam as part of a process that is known as enhanced oil recovery. This process accounts for a miniscule portion of U.S. oil production where carbon dioxide is captured from natural gas and fertilizer plants. The captured CO2 is then sold to oil firms that compress the CO2 within old oil wells to dissolve and dislodge previously difficult to access oil deposits.

Despite its advancements, CCS technology remains difficult to implement within large-scale facilities. The costs of operating these facilities are still relatively high, especially as it requires additional energy to capture carbon. Increased investments could stimulate the industry, however, the minimal amount of emissions that are contained may indicate that the technology is not worth investing in. Additionally, companies need an incentive to bury CO2, yet, many critics are against further subsidizing this technology. It is commonly argued that subsidies would encourage increased oil production without a guarantee that the stored CO2 would not leak (as has been observed in poorly monitored and poorly regulated facilities). Some supporters argue that CCS would benefit countries like India and China where coal plants are still many years away from being retired.

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Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States - Important statistics

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