Based on recent legislation in the US, it would be easy to conclude that carbon capture and storage (commonly referred to as CCS) is essential – as much as possible, as soon as possible, in any circumstance possible.
However, there are shortcomings and concerns with the current state of Carbon Capture and Storage technology. In short:
- CCS is energy-intensive and expensive.
- The money could be better spent on renewable energy sources that do not emit carbon in the first place.
- Estimates of carbon reductions are insignificant to solving the problem.
- CCS at points where CO2 is emitted does not reduce atmospheric CO2.
- Federal and state regulations are inadequate.
- CCS infrastructure – at scale – requires a lot of land.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Although IPCC reports have included carbon capture and sequestration among the tools for mitigating carbon emissions, they also indicate that some tools are more cost effective than others. The chart below is an excerpt from the IPPC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) Summary for Policy Makers.
Most of us, when making personal purchases, want to get the most value for every dollar spent. The same should apply to the expenditure of our tax dollars. Among the seven options in the energy sector, the chart below shows that CCS is the most expensive and has the least potential contribution to net emission reduction. Wind and solar, in contrast, have far greater potential at lower cost.
Carbon Capture and Storage Legislation
However, industry and government are ‘all in’ on carbon capture and storage.
- The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (aka Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill), signed in November 2021, allocates huge sums to rebuild and improve US infrastructure – including additional monies for CCS.
- The Inflation Reduction Act updates the Internal Revenue Service’s 45Q tax credit, which incentivizes the use of carbon capture and storage. It raises the credit from $50 to $85/metric ton for storage in saline geologic formations from carbon capture on industrial and power generation facilities, and from $50 to $180/metric ton for storage from direct air capture (DAC).
Now private ventures can make significant money capturing carbon dioxide and storing it underground. At the time of this writing, four CO2 capture and storage projects have been announced in the Midwest: Tallgrass, Summit, Navigator, and the most recently announced Archer Daniels Midland/Wolf Carbon Solutions joint venture. To learn about the Tallgrass and Summit pipelines, check out BOLD Nebraska.
Geology makes central Illinois a target for storage of CO2. Sandstone formations deep below the surface and capped by shale formations are believed to provide space for CO2 to be stored without leaking.
Learn more about current projects in Illinois.
You can learn more about fighting CO2 pipelines and storage at the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines.
Learn more about carbon capture and storage.
Follow media coverage of CCS Projects in the news.