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Guidelines for Carbon Dioxide Capture, Transport, and Storage

The World Resources Institute (WRI) convened a diverse group of over 80 stakeholders to develop Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) Guidelines to ensure CCS projects are conducted safely and effectively.

Executive Summary

CCS is a broad term that encompasses a number of technologies that can be used to capture CO2 from point sources, such as power plants and other industrial facilities; compress it; transport it mainly by pipeline to suitable locations; and inject it into deep subsurface geological formations for indefinite isolation from the atmosphere. CCS is a critical option in the portfolio of solutions available to combat climate change, because it allows for significant reductions in CO2 emissions from fossil-based systems, enabling it to be used as a bridge to a sustainable energy future.

The starting point for the CCS Guidelines stakeholder discussions was that CCS will most likely be needed to achieve the magnitude of CO2 emissions reduction required to stabilize and reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

The goal of this effort was to develop a set of preliminary guidelines and recommendations for the deployment of CCS technologies in the United States. The CCS Guidelines are written for those who may be involved in decisions on a proposed project: the developers, regulators, financiers, insurers, project operators, and policymakers.

These Guidelines are intended to guide full-scale demonstration of and build public confidence in CCS technologies by informing how projects should be conducted.

The purpose of the Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) Guidelines is not to make a case for or against CCS, but rather to develop practical considerations for demonstrating and deploying CCS technologies.

Watch WRI Senior Associate Sarah Forbes discuss the CCS Guidelines in an interview with E&ETV.

Scenarios for stabilizing climate-forcing emissions suggest atmospheric CO2 stabilization can only be accomplished through the development and deployment of a robust portfolio of solutions, including significant increases in energy efficiency and conservation in the industrial, building, and transport sectors; increased reliance on renewable energy and potentially additional nuclear energy sources; and deployment of CCS.

These Guidelines represent current understanding of how to implement CCS technologies. Discussions of the Guidelines were predicated on the following principles:

  • Protect human health and safety.
  • Protect ecosystems.
  • Protect underground sources of drinking water and other natural resources.
  • Ensure market confidence in emission reductions through regulatory clarity and proper GHG accounting.
  • Facilitate cost-effective, timely deployment.

To develop the CCS Guidelines, the World Resources Institute (WRI) convened a diverse group of over 80 stakeholders, including representatives from academia, business, government, and environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

These Guidelines present recommendations and best practices for those involved in the development and implementation of CCS projects. The document also provides a comprehensive introductory reference for those new to CCS who seek to understand how to responsibly conduct projects.

A potential operator, financier, insurer, or regulator can use these Guidelines as a benchmark in evaluating potential project plans and as a reference on the current technical understanding of best practices for CCS, and a policymaker can use them to establish regulatory and investment frameworks that enable successful and responsible CCS deployments. It is important to note that these Guidelines are not intended to replace or provide the detailed technical knowledge that would be required to select the location for or to design and operate a CCS project. In fact, one of the findings derived from this process is that each CCS project will be unique, and a team of qualified experts will be needed to design and operate each project.

Homepage photo credit: Statoil.

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