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Third Carbon Sequestration Atlas Estimates Up to 5,700 Years of CO2 Storage Potential in U.S. and Portions of Canada

December 1, 2010 - 12:00pm


Washington, DC - There could be as much as 5,700 years of carbon dioxide (CO2) storage potential available in geologic formations in the United States and portions of Canada, according to the latest edition of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carbon Sequestration Atlas (Atlas III).

The updated preliminary estimate, based on current emission rates, documents 1,800 billion to more than 20,000 billion metric tons of CO2 storage potential in saline formations, oil and gas reservoirs, and unmineable coal areas. This suggests the availability of approximately 500-to-5,700 years of CO2 storage for the U.S. and covered Canadian areas, according to the third edition of the Atlas. Safe and permanent geologic CO2 storage is an important element in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, considered by many experts as a major component in a portfolio strategy for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide buildup due to human activity.

The primary purpose of Atlas III is to update U.S./Canadian CO2 storage potential and provide updated information on the activities of DOE’s seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSPs), comprised of more than 400 organizations, 43 states, and four Canadian provinces. Atlas III also outlines DOE’s Carbon Sequestration Program and international carbon capture and storage (CCS) collaborations, as well as worldwide CCS projects, and CCS regulatory issues.

In addition, it presents updated information on the location of CO2 stationary source emissions, as well as the locations and geologic storage potential of various formations and it provides details about the commercialization opportunities for CCS technologies from each RCSP. The CO2 geologic storage resource calculation methodology of Atlas III was refined to better reflect uncertainties in geologic formation properties.   

There are two editions of the new Atlas available: An interactive version located at the NATCARB website, and a print version available for viewing and downloading at the NETL website.

The Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory has now created three atlases in collaboration with the RCSPs and the National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographical Information System (NATCARB) team. Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Victor Der noted: "The sequestration community has come to rely on the carbon sequestration atlas. The third edition will continue to guide and inform our efforts to mitigate climate change with the environmentally sound, cost-effective storage of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels."

View the document

NATCARB website