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Carbon Sequestration Initiative

Started in 2008, the Carbon Sequestration Initiative (CSI) is a 5-year, multi-million dollar investment to advance capabilities in geologic sequestration. Carbon sequestration, carbon storage, or geologic sequestration are all terms that are used to denote the long-term isolation of greenhouse gases (GHG), such as carbon dioxide, in deep geologic formations.

The use of fossil fuel, accounting for 85 percent of the world’s primary energy, is largely responsible for the increase in GHG in the atmosphere. Governments around the world, including the United States, have committed to stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of GHG through a 60 to 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. Carbon sequestration is one of several tools that will be needed to solve global climate change.

Calvin emissions.jpg

The world is currently on a path where time is short and only negative emissions (e.g., removing CO2 from the atmosphere and geologic storage) will allow stabilization of the atmospheric concentration below 450 ppm CO2 equivalent. The figure at the left shows the results of the miniCAM integrated assessment model that links a global energy-economy-agriculture-land-use model with a suite of coupled gas-cycle, climate, and ice-melt models. The figure depicts global electricity production in an “overshoot” scenario, where maximum CO2 concentration peaks in the mid to high 400 ppm range mid century, before leveling back to the 380-390 ppm by the end of the century. In this analysis, half of all electricity generated post 2050 would use geologic sequestration. Furthermore, a significant portion of electricity would need to come from the combustion of biofuels combined with geologic sequestration – in essence creating negative emissions (Figure created by Jim Dooley from data in: Calvin et. al., 2009, Limiting climate change to 450 ppm CO2 equivalent in the 21st century, Energy Economics 31:S107-S120)

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Last Update: 7 May 2012 | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory