Where a suitable geologic formation for secure CO2 storage does not underlie an industrial facility, captured CO2 will need to be transported to a separate location for injection underground. Pipelines appear to be the best way to transport CO2 at substantial volumes.
CO2 pipelines are already in commercial use, with about 3500 miles of underground pipe in North America used to transport CO2 from natural reservoirs to oil fields to enhance production. The largest network supplies Permian Basin operators in Texas and New Mexico, who have injected CO2 for nearly 40 years. Shorter pipelines are used in other locations and industrial CO2 piping is common in beverage and chemical manufacturing facilities. These pipelines have operated for years without significant safety incidents.
CO2 pipeline technology is similar to that used for natural gas; accordingly, a robust construction, operation, and maintenance infrastructure is in place. And because of enhanced oil recovery applications, many pipeline-related regulatory issues have been addressed.
WESTCARB will build on this foundation of knowledge in evaluating the routing options and costs for CO2 pipelines to link industrial plants to geologic sequestration sites.