Introduction of large amounts of CO2, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere is considered a likely driver in climate change (NRC, 2011). In 2010 approximately 33.5 billion metric tonnes of CO2 (~37 million tons) were introduced to the atmosphere by industry, transportation, and agricultural production globally (Boden and Blasing, 2011; Friedlingstein et al., 2010). For a number of years research has explored various methods for reducing carbon emissions to the atmosphere, including methods that can capture CO2 from point sources (e.g., fossil fuel burning power plants, industrial plants, and refineries), transport it to a geological storage site, and inject it into the ground for permanent storage (sometimes called sequestration) and monitoring (shown schematically in Figure 3.14). If successful and economical, CCS could become an important technology for reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.
FIGURE 3.14 Illustration of the concept of carbon sequestration. SOURCE: USGS; Duncan and Morrissey (2011).