Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University


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PESD Carbon Storage Project Database

Working Paper

Authors
Varun Rai
Ngai-Chi Chung
Mark C. Thurber - Stanford University
David G. Victor

Issued by
Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Working Paper #76, November 13, 2008


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is among the technologies with greatest potential leverage to combat climate change. According to the PRISM analysis, a technology assessment performed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), wide deployment of CCS after 2020 in the US power sector alone could reduce emissions by approximately 350 million tonnes of CO2 per year (Mt CO2/yr) by 2030, a conclusion echoed by the McKinsey U.S. Mid-range Greenhouse Gas Abatement Curve 2030. But building CCS into such a formidable climate change mitigation “wedge” will require more than technological feasibility; it will also require the development of policies and business models that can enable wide adoption. Such business models, and the regulatory environments to support them, have as yet been largely undemonstrated. This, among other factors, has caused the gap between the technological potential and the actual pace of CCS development to remain large.

The purpose of the present work is to quantify actual progress in developing carbon storage projects (here defined as any projects that store carbon underground at any stage of their operation or development, for example through injection into oil fields for enhanced recovery or in saline aquifers or other geological formations). In this way, the real development ramp may be compared in scale and timing against the perceived need for and potential of the technology. Some very useful lists of carbon storage projects already exist – see, for example, the IPCC CCS database, the JP Morgan CCS project list, the MIT CCS database, and the IEA list. We seek to maintain an up-to-date database of all publicly-announced current and planned projects from which we can project a trajectory of carbon stored underground as a function of time. To do this, we estimate for each project the probability of completion as well as the potential volume of CO2 that can be stored as of a given year.