Discussion Paper

Prospects for Carbon Capture and Storage Technologies

Jan 1, 2003 | Soren T. Anderson, Richard G. Newell


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies remove carbon dioxide from flue gases for storage in geologic formations or the ocean. We find that CCS is technically feasible and economically attractive within the range of carbon policies discussed domestically and internationally. Current costs are about $200 to $250 per ton of carbon, although costs are sensitive to fuel prices and other assumptions and could be reduced significantly through technical improvements. Near-term prospects favor CCS for certain industrial sources and electric power plants, with storage in depleted oil and gas reservoirs. Deep aquifers may provide an attractive longer-term storage option, whereas ocean storage poses greater technical and environmental uncertainty. Vast quantities of economically recoverable fossil fuels, sizable political obstacles to their abandonment, and inherent delay associated with developing alternative energy sources suggest that CCS should be seriously considered in the portfolio of options for addressing climate change, alongside energy efficiency and carbon-free energy.