Carbon capture and storage is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO₂) formed during industrial processes, transporting it, and storing it, thereby preventing emission into the atmosphere.
The process of large-scale carbon capture and storage involves three major steps:
Industrial facilities, such as coal and natural gas power plants, oil and gas refineries, steel mills, and cement plants produce CO2. In the Midwest, it is a common byproduct of ethanol production. Different technologies separate the CO2 from other resulting gases depending on the industrial process.
Once captured and separated, the CO2 is compressed to a “dense phase” or liquid-like state to make it easier to transport and store. Pipelines generally transport CO2 to a suitable site for geological storage. However, some countries use ships and, for smaller amounts of CO2, trucks and trains.
- Permanent Storage (Sequestration). The captured CO2 is injected deep underground where it is expected to be permanently stored.
- Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Injecting the captured CO2 stimulates more oil production, leaving the CO2 in the oil-depleted reservoir.
- Conversion. Using the CO2 in synthetic fuels, cement production, chemical production, etc.