Regional Partnerships

Regional Partnerships

The DOE has established seven regional partnerships that are comprised of more than 350 state agencies, universities, private companies and non-governmental organizations. These partnerships form the core of a nationwide network to address climate change by assessing the technical and economic viability of various approaches for capturing and permanently storing CO₂. For more information about the partnerships please see the Web site of the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL)

"Carbon sequestration" is the term given to a broad class of new technologies that span "carbon capture," "carbon storage," "geologic sequestration," and "terrestrial sequestration." Carbon capture includes a variety of methods for removing CO₂ from the emissions of industrial sources such as power plants, refineries, ethanol plants and other industrial facilities. Once the CO₂ has been captured it could possibly be stored safely in deep underground geologic formations. This is called geologic sequestration. CO₂ also can be captured directly from the air and stored in soils and vegetation. This is called terrestrial sequestration.

Map of the various partnerships

Phase I, Characterization Phase, 2003 - 2005 

During Phase I of the Program, which ended in September 2005, the seven partnerships began to develop the frameworks needed to validate and potentially deploy carbon sequestration technologies in each region. A key effort focused on developing a coordinated base of CO₂ sources and potential storage reservoirs.  During this Phase I, the partnership began to assess which of the emerging approaches to carbon sequestration are best suited for the specific regions of the country. They also began studying possible regulatory and other infrastructure requirements that a region would need if these technologies were to be encouraged and deployed widely in the future.
Phase II, Validation Phase, 2005 - 2011 

During Phase II, which began in 2005 and concluded in early 2011, the MRCSP successfully completed three small-scale, field validation tests in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.  Concurrently in 2008, the MRCSP began Phase III of the research program.  This third research phase involves a large-scale geologic field test. The test would occur over a ten-year period and would inject a larger amount of carbon dioxide for a longer period of time.
Phase III, Development Phase, 2008 - 2017:  

The primary goal of the third phase is the development of several large volume carbon sequestration tests that build on the knowledge gained during the first phases of the program.  Each test will involve injection of at least one million tons of CO₂  in regionally significant geologic formations. This phase will continue to address key issues for CO₂ capture, transportation, injection and storage. The Deployment Phase tests will be implemented in three stages: 
  1. Site selection, characterization, National Policy Environmental  Act  compliance, permitting, and infrastructure development (1-3 years). 
  2. CO₂ injection and monitoring operations (3 - 4 years). 
  3. Site closure, post injection monitoring and analysis (3 - 4 years)
An option for mitigating climate change  

Carbon sequestration holds promise as one option for mitigating climate change. It is but one of many potential ways to address climate change.  Additional measures include reducing energy consumption through conservation and increased conversion efficiency; increasing the amount of electricity produced with nuclear fuel; and increased use of renewable energy such as solar and wind.  All of these options will be important.  This is one reason why the MRCSP is researching the potential role of carbon sequestration.   You can obtain information about the some of the efforts to develop other solutions through our resources page.  
 
The regional partnerships are dedicated to exploring the option of carbon sequestration as a tool for mitigating the effects of atmospheric carbon on the environment. However, there is a clear understanding that it will take a broad portfolio of options to tackle the challenge presented by climate change. If carbon sequestration is found to be safe and effective, it could be an important component of this broader portfolio and its use would allow for deep reductions in CO₂ emissions associated with power plants and large industrial facilities that use fossil fuels. Some see the advantage in this option as allowing access to local energy sources thus keeping energy costs low and ensuring adequate energy supplies while research continues into new and alternative energy technologies. 
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