Working pipelines already demonstrate long-distance CO2 transport
In order for carbon capture and storage (CCS) to work, it is necessary not just to remove carbon before it is emitted from a coal-burning plant, but also to put the CO2 somewhere away from the atmosphere. The solution favored by many scientists and engineers is to bury it deep underground, and many parts of the country have the right sort of underground geology to make that work.
Some do not, however, and in that case it will be necessary to transport the CO2 by pipeline. That will not require any new engineering breakthroughs, since CO2 pipelines already exist, mostly for transporting CO2 to oil wells, where it’s injected to flush out more oil. The longest is a 500-mile line that carries CO2 from Colorado to West Texas.1
The impetus for CCS comes from the fact that rising CO2 is causing the planet to warm and that the ongoing increase in atmospheric CO2 comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal.
- Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, and National Energy Technology Laboratory. The Carbon Sequestration Atlas of the United States and Canada. (PDF) 2007 ↩