Articles Reports

Publications & Reports



  • Foxall, W., and Friedmann, S. J., 2008, Frequently Asked Questions About Carbon Sequestration and Earthquakes. LLNL-BR-408445. Link
  • Environmental Foundation Bellona, Aage Stangeland, “Why CO2 Capture and Storage is an Important Strategy to Reduce Global CO2 Emissions,” September (2007). Link
  • The Global Energy Technology Strategy Program, JA Edmonds, MA Wise, JJ Dooley, SH Kim, SJ Smith, PJ Runci, LE Clarke, EL Malone, and GM Stokes, “Global Energy Technology Strategy:  Addressing Climate Change, Phase 2 Findings from an International Public-Private Sponsored Research Program,” May (2007). Link
  • Socolow, Robert H. and Stephen Pacala, “A Plan to Keep Carbon in Check” Scientific American, September (2006). Link
  • Hawkins, David, Daniel Lashof, and Robert Williams, “What to Do,” Scientific American, September (2006). Link
  • The Global Energy Technology Strategy Program, JJ Dooley, RT Dahowski, CL Davidson, MA Wise, N Gupta, SH Kim, and EL Malone, “Carbon Dioxide Capture and Geologic Storage:  A Core Element of a Global Energy Technology Strategy to Address Climate Change,” April (2006). Link
  • Socolow, Robert H., “Can We Bury Global Warming?” Scientific American, July (2005). Link
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Arnie Heller, “Locked in Rock: Sequestering Carbon,”   Science & Technology Review, May (2005). Link
  • Socolow, Robert H, Roberta Hotinski, Jeffery B. Greenblatt, and Stephen Pacala, “Solving the Climate Problem:  Technologies Available to Curb CO2 Emissions,” Environment, Volume 46, No. 10: 8-19, December (2004). Link


  • Burton, Elizabeth A., Richard Myhre, Larry Myer, and Kelly Birkinshaw, Geologic Carbon Sequestration Strategies for California, The Assembly Bill 1925 Report to the California Legislature. California Energy Commission, Systems Office. CEC-500-2007-100-SF. November (2007). Link
  • National Energy Technology Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy, “Carbon Sequestration Technology Roadmap and Program Plan 2007,” (2007). Link
  • Congressional Research Service, Paul W. Parfomak, “CRS Report for Congress:  CO2 Pipelines for Carbon Sequestration:  Emerging Policy Issues,” April (2007). Link
  • Congressional Research Service, Peter Folger, “CRS Report for Congress:  Direct Carbon Sequestration:  Capturing and Storing CO2,” January (2007). Link


  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “The Future of Coal: an Interdisciplinary MIT Study,” (2007). Link
  • MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, Howard Herzog and Dan Golomb, “Carbon Capture and Storage from Fossil Fuel Use,” (2004). Link


  • Guidelines for Carbon Dioxide Capture, Transport, and Storage Link

    The World Resources Institute (WRI) convened a diverse group of over 80 stakeholders to develop Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) Guidelines to ensure CCS projects are conducted safely and effectively. Link

  • World Wildlife Fund Position Paper, “Carbon Capture and Storage from Fossil Fuels”. Link
  • Center for American Progress, Ken Berlin and Robert M. Sussman, “Global Warming and the Future of Coal:  The Path to Carbon Capture and Storage,” May (2007). Link
  • American Public Power Association, L.D. Carter, “Carbon Capture and Storage From Coal-based Power Plants:  A White Paper on Technology for the American Public Power Association,” May (2007). Link
  • Natural Resources Defense Council, David Hawkins and George Peridas, “No Time Like the Present: NRDC’s Response to MIT’s ‘Future of Coal’ Report,” March (2007). Link


  • CO2 Capture Project – Non-technical Reports and Brochures

    Reports prepared by the CO2 Capture Project, a partnership of eight of the world’s leading energy companies and three government organisations undertaking research and developing technologies to help make CO2 capture and geological storage (CCS) a practical reality. Link

  • CO2 Capture and Geological Storage In Depth: Some Key Principles for Policymakers – May 2008

    Provides an overview of the technology being developed to capture CO2 from power stations and industrial processes, and safely store it underground. The brochure also summarises the CO2 Capture Project’s position on the regulatory framework for CSS, and incentives to promote adoption of CSS technology to combat climate change. Link

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “IPCC Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, Summary for Policy Makers and Technical Summary,” IPCC, (2005). Link
  • IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme, “Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide:  Staying Safely Underground,” International Energy Agency, January (2008). Link
  • IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme, “Natural Releases of CO2,” International Energy Agency. Link
  • IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme, “A Review of Natural CO2 Occurrences and Releases and the Relevance to CO2 Storage,”  International Energy Agency, Report Number 2005/8, September (2005). Link
  • IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme, “Storing CO2 Underground,” International Energy Agency. Link


  • International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme Newsletter, Link
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  • “The Carbon Sequestration Newsletter,” National Energy Technology Laboratory. Link
  • Carbon Capture Journal – News oriented web site with email newsletter. Link


Frequently Asked Questions

What is CCS?
What is CO2?
Is CO2 sequestration safe?
How does CO2 stay underground through sequestration?
Why is CCS such an important technology?
Where is CCS currently in use?

What is CCS?

Carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS, is the process by which CO2 is separated from hydrocarbons in fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, or petroleum coke, a byproduct of the oil refinery process, and then sequestered deep underground. CO2 separation can be accomplished through a chemical gasification process prior to combustion in what is called pre-combustion capture. Pre-combustion capture involves exposing the fossil fuel to oxygen and water at high temperatures, which results in the extraction of hydrogen and CO2. This extraction and capture can also occur during or after the burning of fossil fuels.

Once “captured,” CO2 is compressed to a near liquid state and transported via pipeline to sequestration deep underground, far below water tables and usually below nonporous cap-rock. Ideal geological formations for sequestration include depleted oil and gas fields and deep saline formations, where oil, gas, or saline has been sequestered naturally for millions of years.

Pre-combustion capture has the additional benefit of producing hydrogen, a “clean fuel” that can be used as fuel for a power plant, cars and other industrial uses.

What is CO2? 

CO2, or carbon dioxide, is a non-toxic and otherwise harmless gas that we breathe in and out every day. It is one of the elements that nourish plant life in the photosynthesis process. Food grade CO2 is found in carbonated drinks and is used in the flash-freezing process. It is also the primary ingredient in baking soda and fire extinguishers. 

However, CO2 is also believed to be a major contributor to global warming resulting from human activity since the dawn of the Industrial Age. It is produced through industrial processes that involve burning of any fossil fuel and through chemical processes that separate it from other mineral states. And like any gas (including oxygen) that is found in too high a concentration without ventilation, CO2 can cause asphyxiation.

In recorded history there have been rare, natural occurrences of high volume CO2 releases from seismic or volcanic activity that have caused asphyxiation. However, these instances had nothing to do with carbon sequestration nor are the circumstances under which they occurred similar to those for carbon sequestration.

Is CO2 sequestration safe?

Documented facts from hundreds of well-researched geologic studies conclusively demonstrate that CO2 sequestration is safer than many other industrial processes. CCS projects proposed in California plan to sequester CO2 beneath non-porous cap rock where it is expected to remain for millions of years —  as long cap rock has held  oil and gas reservoirs in place.

A CO2 pipeline is very similar in operation to other gas and liquid pipelines already in widespread use throughout the world. Since CO2 is not flammable, there is no danger of fire, but compressed gas is under pressure and could displace displace oxygen in small, enclosed spaces. These factors require safety technologies, including electronic monitoring devices placed throughout the entire length of the pipeline that can instantly pinpoint leaks and automatically isolate the area and shut off the pipeline. 

Once available, a CO2 pipeline infrastructure can also be used to transport and sequester CO2 that currently vents into the atmosphere from other sources, such as methane gas recovery and other industrial processes.

How does CO2 stay underground through sequestration?

Carbon dioxide can be sequestered in different ways. When CO2 is compressed it can be injected via deep wells into oil and gas production zones deep underground.  Under layers of impermeable “cap rock,” oil and gas has been held in porous rock reservoirs for millions of years.  As the oil and gas is produced, it travels through the porous rock to a well and then to the surface, essentially freeing space between the grains of rock where CO2 can be injected to replace the produced oil and gas.

Another option is to pump CO2 into saline aquifers where it dissolves in salty water, just like sugar dissolves in tea. The water with CO2 dissolved in it is then heavier than the water around it (without CO2) and so it sinks to the bottom of a rock formation, trapping the CO2 indefinitely. Another form of sequestration takes place when CO2 reacts with the minerals in the surrounding rocks and forms new minerals on the rocks, much like shellfish use calcium and carbon from seawater to form their shells.  Depending on the chemistry of the rocks and water, this process can be very rapid or very slow, but it effectively binds the CO2 to the rocks.

Why is CCS such an important technology?

Today, much of the world’s economy runs on fossil fuels. In developing countries like China and India, fossil fuel usage is expanding significantly with no carbon mitigation plans. In China alone, two coal-fired power plants go on line every week. This fossil fuel power expansion needs to change, and we need to reduce our reliance on these fuels. However, while policymakers, scientists and consumers begin our transition to new, renewable sources of energy, as well as adopt conservation and efficiency measures to reduce the use of traditional energy sources, we also must take action to reduce CO2 emissions from conventional sources of energy.

Carbon capture and sequestration is a critical tool in the effort to reduce the concentration of global warming gases in the atmosphere. Most experts agree that pursuing this viable, safe and proven means of addressing global warming is essential to the development of a comprehensive strategy to successfully confront the most serious environmental issue of our time.

Where is CCS currently in use?

CCS has been in use for over 40 years in the oil and gas industries as a way to enhance oil and gas recovery. Permanent sequestration of CO2 has been used in Sleipner, Norway since 1996, Weyburn, Canada since 2000, and in Salah, Algeria since 2004—all without incident.

CO2 sequestration at Sleipner, Norway off-shore platforms


Introduction to CCS

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) provides a means to dramatically reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere from industrial facilities or when electricity is generated by fossil fuel power plants. Although carbon dioxide is neither toxic nor inherently dangerous, the overabundance of atmospheric CO2  is believed to be a major contributor to global climate change.


Environmental experts discuss the role that carbon capture and sequestration can play in achieving needed reductions in carbon dioxide emissions in order to mitigate global climate change.

Up until now, the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has been inevitable when power is generated from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.  Now, however, new power plants are being designed with processes to separate carbon dioxide so that it is not released into the atmosphere. Instead, the CO2 is captured and can be piped to underground geological formations where it can be permanently sequestered.