Columbia World Projects (CWP) on Wednesday released a report identifying key opportunities and challenges in offshore carbon capture and storage.
The report is a critical first step in identifying how best to implement essential new technologies that could reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels worldwide and help address the issue of climate change.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the practice of trapping and disposing of carbon dioxide in rock below the seafloor or earth’s surface to reduce buildup of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
The report is based on a workshop held by CWP in October 2020. The workshop was held as part of the development of Offshore Storage of Billions of Tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), a project concept that emerged from CWP’s Forum on decarbonization. Several Columbia University centers and schools including the Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, and the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia School of International and Public Affairs and Columbia Engineering supported the workshop, which was led by Ken Hnottavange-Telleen of GHG Underground. The workshop convened more than 35 experts from a variety of disciplines from academia, national laboratories, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to characterize and discuss a wide range of opportunities and challenges involved with carbon capture, renewable energy, and offshore policies.
Workshop discussions highlighted important focus areas for the future, to increase the feasibility of large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, including:
- engineering design, testing, and integration of technologies for CO2 capture, transport, and subseafloor injection systems;
- demonstrating sustainable CO2 storage and long-term monitoring in offshore carbon capture;
- testing and deployment of offshore renewable energy resources (e.g., wind);
- exploring policy options to incentivize investment in CCS, particularly for offshore projects;
- developing a legal and regulatory framework for offshore CCS that enables and encourages project development;
- establishing mechanisms for cross-disciplinary engagement to facilitate technical, regulatory, and financial coordination in complex offshore projects; and,
- conducting further research into public perceptions of offshore CCS and how they vary based on project location and design.
The findings in this report aim to pave the way for the development of the policy framework, technical needs, and large-scale infrastructure investments that will be required in the future to capture and store carbon at scale and help to mitigate the climate crisis.