Frequently Asked Questions

What is carbon capture?

  • Carbon capture is the process of separating CO2 from emission sources such as coal-fired power plants, the largest stationary sources of CO2.

What is carbon sequestration/geologic storage?

  • Carbon sequestration/geologic storage is the storage of CO2 in a way that permanently separates it from the atmosphere. Geologic storage involves injecting CO2 into underground reservoirs (depleted oil and gas reservoirs, deep saline formations, and unmineable coal seams) that securely contain the CO2 beneath impermeable, overlying rock formations (caprocks or seals) and separate it from shallower fresh water aquifers.

How will carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) offset global climate change?

  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), power plants and other large point sources account for nearly one third of U.S. carbon emissions. CCUS technologies will stabilize and ultimately reduce these emissions, thereby stabilizing and reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, while in some cases also contributing to enhanced oil recovery efforts.

Is carbon sequestration safe?

  • Environmental and safety concerns are minimal with careful site selection, a rigorous monitoring and verification program, an effective regulatory system, and appropriate mitigation plans to stop or control CO2 releases should they occur.
  • CO2 is not toxic, flammable, or explosive. CO2 is not a poison like carbon monoxide (CO) and poses no health risk at ambient levels (350–500 ppm) or moderately elevated concentrations (5,000 ppm). In fact, low levels of CO2 are necessary for all life. Concentrations above 100,000 ppm are considered life-threatening.

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