U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) efforts to support commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) are advancing. More than a half-dozen projects are capturing 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) through a regional partnership with DOE funding, the agency said.

DOE's latest statistics boost the Obama administration's push for clean energy as part of its climate change initiative, which includes methane emissions reductions (see Daily GPI, Jan. 14) and renewable energy.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has said that the United States is "taking the lead in showing the world that CCS can work," claiming the U.S. investment in CCS is the largest of any nation. DOE funds are being matched by private investment, he said.

The 10 million metric tons of capture was achieved in DOE's Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership initiative, and its Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) demonstration programs. The former consists of seven partnerships focused on determining the best regional approaches for storing CO2. The ICCS program involves $1.4 billion that was invested under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to reduce CO2 from industrial emissions plants.

CCS separates and captures CO2 from power generation and other large industrial plants. Captured CO2 is then injected and stored deep underground in geologic formations, and in a number of projects it is eventually used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in mature wells.

DOE officials stress that CCS technology encourages sustainable economic growth by allowing industry to continue operations while emitting fewer greenhouse gases, and enabling more practical and beneficial options for reusing the CO2 in processes such as EOR.

The federal officials highlighted a program in Port Arthur, TX, involving Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a global provider of atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, equipment and services.

With DOE funding, Air Products has now captured more than 2 million metric tons of CO2, demonstrating a state-of-the-art system to capture carbon emissions from two steam methane reformers used to produce hydrogen. The company retrofitted its steam methane reformers with an advanced system that separates CO2 from the process gas stream.

Air Products' CO2 is then compressed and delivered by pipeline to EOR projects in eastern Texas.