Carbon dioxide is heating up our planet. Unchecked, this CO2 buildup will have a significant impact on California. Our imperatives are clear: Generate less, and eliminate more. Capturing carbon and storing it where it's benign, away from our atmosphere, is no small feat — but research is under way to advance the effort and find suitable sites for storage in California.
Power plants and refineries are the main stationary sources of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. As CO2 accumulates, it traps heat and brings on the disturbing effects of global warming. Researchers are pursuing ways to capture the gas and "sequester" it close by where it can do no harm. Matching the source of the CO2 to a suitable nearby storage "sink" is a critical part of the challenge.
At the heart of this quest is WESTCARB, one of seven partnerships created by the U.S. Department of Energy. During its tenure as a manager of the partnership, CIEE (under a former contract with the California Energy Commission) coordinated the work of more than 20 research collaborators, keeping an array of interconnected projects on point, on time, and on budget. The effort investigated and reported on the potential for carbon sequestration from Alaska to Arizona.
CIEE continues to play a significant role in implementing carbon capture, utilization, and storage in California, which acknowledges this technology as a priority in order to meet its 2050 greenhouse gas reduction goals. It works closely with the CEC to identify and assess carbon sequestration strategies, alternatives, and technologies, as well as the complex regulatory, legal, and community considerations that challenge their implementation. As recent examples, CIEE coordinated a blue-ribbon panel appointed by three state agencies to evaluate California carbon sequestration policy and the issues surrounding sequestration in underground geological formations; it has also prepared an essential research roadmap to advance technologies for alternatives to geological storage.
Research Roadmap for Carbon Sequestration Alternatives | 2012
Findings and Recommendations by the California Carbon and Storage Review Panel | 2012
Background Reports for the California Carbon Capture and Storage Review Panel | 2010
California Carbon Capture and Storage Review Panel webpage
CIEE Library of WESTCARB Reports
West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB) website