What is carbon capture and storage?

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.


  1. Permanent Storage (Sequestration). The captured CO2 is injected deep underground where it is expected to be permanently stored. 
  2. Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Injecting the captured CO2 stimulates more oil production, leaving the CO2 in the oil-depleted reservoir.
  3. Conversion. Using the CO2 in synthetic fuels, cement production, chemical production, etc.
Graphic identifies possible steps in the carbon capture and storage process.