wells and from one coal gasification facility, for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The oldest of these pipelines was completed in 1972, and the longest is 808 km (Gale and Davidson, 2004). In the 13 years from 1990 to 2002, there were 10 incidents of leakage involving CO2 pipelines, with no injuries or fatalities (Gale and Davidson, 2004). Existing CO2 pipelines are located in rural areas of low population density and, unlike natural gas pipelines, do not pose a risk of combustion or explosion.

The composition of CO2 pipelines and their manufacture, construction, maintenance, and operation are all mature technologies. Most existing pipelines carry reasonably pure CO2, although some also contain impurities (e.g., H2S derived from petroleum refining). Depending on the CO2 source and capture technology, some future sequestration pipelines might contain various amounts of other impurities such as SO2, NOx, oxygen, and nitrogen, possibly requiring some modification to current pipeline design specifications. It is expected, however, that allowable levels of impurities will be determined by future regulatory requirements governing CO2 sequestration.


The issues associated with the transport of coal and coal-derived products are related primarily to the regulatory and business environments, and with the exception of an improved understanding of complex networks, there seems to be little requirement for research activity. Accordingly, the committee finds the following:

  • The greater coal use projected in some of the scenarios discussed in Chapter 2 will be possible only if sufficient transport capacity is available to reliably deliver the increased amounts of coal at reasonable prices.

  • Transport of coal by rail and by waterway will be critical for increased coal use. The capacity, reliability, and price of rail transportation—the dominant mode of coal transport—depend largely on the supply and demand for rail transportation, as well as on prevailing business practices, the investment climate, and the nature of regulatory oversight of the railroad industry. The capacity, reliability, and price of rail transportation of coal depend to a far lesser degree on research and development. Reliable and sufficient waterborne transportation—the second most prevalent method of coal transport—depends on the construction and maintenance of waterway infrastructures, especially lock-and-dam infrastructure and port capacity.

  • Much of the nation's coal-fired electric generating capacity is located at some distance from the urbanized areas that have the largest and most concentrated demands for electricity. Projections of higher coal use depend on sufficient capacity to transmit electricity from coal-based power plants to such areas reliably and at a reasonable cost. Conversely, the projected increases in coal use will

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