About CCS | Additional Resources | Member-Only Resources
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of the key technologies needed to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas (GHG). CCS technologies will capture CO2 from fossil fuel-based power plants, transport it, and store it underground instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. CCS is a relatively new technological approach, however, and there are many technical and non-technical issues involved in capturing and storing CO2.
Congress has taken important steps to provide initial support for CCS over the past several years. However, increased government—and private sector—funding is essential for the research, design, and development of CCS to lead to successful commercial deployment. The costs of, and regulatory and economic barriers to, the use of CCS must be addressed in any federal action or legislation to reduce GHGs.
- What is CCS?
During the generation of fossil fuel-based electricity—from coal, natural gas, and fuel oil—CO2 is released into the atmosphere. CCS is a process by which CO2 is separated from emission sources, transported, and injected into suitable underground geologic locations, such as deep saline formations, unmineable coal seams, basalt formations, or depleted oil and gas fields. It is estimated that the United States has an abundance of underground storage capacity, but these potential storage areas are not evenly distributed around the country.
- How does CCS work?
The CO2 is captured, or “separated,” from flue gas by means of a chemical or physical process. The captured CO2 is then compressed (i.e., pressurized) in order to change the gas into a liquid. The liquid CO2, also referred to as a supercritical fluid, is denser than in its original gaseous state and is easier to transport by pipeline. CO2 in small volumes also can be transported as a liquid in tanks by ship, road, and rail. The CO2 can then be injected into depleted oil and gas reservoirs or into deep underground saline formations for storage; or, it can be injected into depleting oil reservoirs to extract more oil and then to store the unused CO2.
To learn more about CCS technology, visit: