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Transport Infrastructure for Carbon Capture and Storage

By: Elizabeth Abramson and Dane McFarlane, Great Plains Institute; Jeff Brown, University of Wyoming (June 2020)

Transport Infrastructure for Carbon Capture and Storage

This detailed analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA) emphasizes the pivotal role carbon capture technology will play in achieving mid-century US and global carbon reduction goals and temperature targets. This technology aids power and industrial sectors in minimizing or eliminating carbon emissions while preserving and generating high-wage jobs. The report reveals that for carbon-intensive industries like steel and cement, significant CO2 emissions emanate from the production process itself, irrespective of the source of process energy. As such, carbon capture is an indispensable tool for reducing emissions from industries that are difficult to decarbonize, even when they switch to low-carbon electricity.

To attain these decarbonization goals, the implementation of substantial infrastructure is crucial for both industrial and power sectors, even considering aggressive low-carbon and renewable energy adoption. This will involve retrofitting carbon capture equipment at industrial and power facilities and developing regional-scale transport infrastructure to convey captured CO2 to sites for utilization and long-term storage. The analysis also delves into the advantages of “super-sizing” CO2 infrastructure and the necessity for long-term planning on regional CO2 transport corridors. Furthermore, it outlines the findings of a two-year modeling project to pinpoint regional-scale CO2 transport infrastructure that can serve existing facilities and accommodate new capture projects and facilities in the future.

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