This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 17, 2007

DOE and EPA Tackle Geologic Carbon Dioxide Sequestration

DOE announced on October 9th that it has selected three projects for the large-scale demonstration of geologic carbon dioxide sequestration. Carbon dioxide is the dominant greenhouse gas emitted in the United States and is emitted primarily by burning fossil fuels. The ability to sequester carbon dioxide in geologic formations located deep underground could be a key technology to allow the continued use of fossil fuels in a world with limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Subject to congressional appropriations, DOE plans to invest $197 million in the projects over the next decade, while the total cost of the projects is expected to be $318 million.

The three projects actually include at least five injection sites: at a salt formation in Alberta, Canada; at an oil-containing basin in North Dakota; at a sandstone formation that runs beneath Colorado and Wyoming; and at two locations along an underground sand formation that stretches from Texas to Florida. The projects are the first of several planned under DOE's Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program, which has already identified sites for more than 1,000 years of carbon dioxide storage in North America. See the DOE press release.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to develop regulations for carbon dioxide sequestration. The EPA rules will be designed to ensure there is a consistent and effective permit system under the Safe Drinking Water Act for commercial-scale geologic sequestration programs. The Safe Drinking Water Act includes the Underground Injection Control Program, which allows for the safe injection of fluids deep below the surface in a manner that does not endanger current or future underground sources of drinking water. The EPA is also working with DOE to evaluate the potential impacts on health, safety, and the environment. The agency plans to issue its regulations next summer. See the EPA press release.