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Techniques for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration

This page is derived from the 2015 National Academies report Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration. It provides a high-level overview of various approaches to carbon dioxide removal and sequestration, as well as associated estimates for cost and rate of capture and/or sequestration.

Climate Change at the National Academies

Our website keeps you up to date on all the climate change related events, reports, and other activities at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.


Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration

As one of a two-book report, this volume of Climate Intervention discusses CDR, the carbon dioxide removal of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere and sequestration of it in perpetuity. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration introduces possible CDR approaches and then discusses them in depth. Land management practices, such as low-till agriculture, reforestation and afforestation, ocean iron fertilization, and land-and-ocean-based accelerated weathering, could amplify the rates of processes that are already occurring as part of the natural carbon cycle. Other CDR approaches, such as bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration, direct air capture and sequestration, and traditional carbon capture and sequestration, seek to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and dispose of it by pumping it underground at high pressure. This book looks at the pros and cons of these options and estimates possible rates of removal and total amounts that might be removed via these methods.

Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies

In the past several years, some energy technologies that inject or extract fluid from the Earth, such as oil and gas development and geothermal energy development, have been found or suspected to cause seismic events. Although only a very small fraction of injection and extraction activities among the hundreds of thousands of energy development sites in the United States have induced seismicity at levels noticeable to the public, understanding the potential for inducing felt seismic events and for limiting their occurrence and impacts is desirable for state and federal agencies, industry, and the public at large.

Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies identifies gaps in knowledge and research needed to advance the understanding of induced seismicity; identify gaps in induced seismic hazard assessment methodologies and the research to close those gaps; and assess options for steps toward best practices with regard to energy development and induced seismicity potential.

America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation

Energy touches our lives in countless ways and its costs are felt when we fill up at the gas pump, pay our home heating bills, and keep businesses both large and small running. There are long-term costs as well: to the environment, as natural resources are depleted and pollution contributes to global climate change, and to national security and independence, as many of the world’s current energy sources are increasingly concentrated in geopolitically unstable regions. The country’s challenge is to develop an energy portfolio that addresses these concerns while still providing sufficient, affordable energy reserves for the nation.

America’s Energy Future analyzes the potential of a wide range of technologies for generation, distribution, and conservation of energy. This book considers technologies to increase energy efficiency, coal-fired power generation, nuclear power, renewable energy, oil and natural gas, and alternative transportation fuels. It offers a detailed assessment of the associated impacts and projected costs of implementing each technology and categorizes them into three time frames for implementation.

Novel Approaches to Carbon Management: Separation, Capture, Sequestration, and Conversion to Useful Products–Workshop Report

Novel Approaches to Carbon Management presents ideas raised at a workshop held in 2003 by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Committee on Novel Approaches to the Management of Greenhouse Gases from Energy Systems to identify promising lines of research that could lead to currently unforeseen breakthroughs in the management of carbon from energy systems. The information identified by participants in the workshop was intended to inform the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) in its awarding of grants for new research in carbon management.

Workshop Proceedings

Coastal Blue Carbon Approaches for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration:
Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

Among the many valuable ecosystems services of coastal environments is their ability to take up some of the excess carbon from the atmosphere. This new publication summarizes a workshop that explored the potential to restore and manage coastal habitats, particularly coastal wetlands, as a viable carbon dioxide removal approach (often termed coastal blue carbon). Workshop speakers described their relevant work including the state of knowledge and research needs related to understanding carbon capacity and flux in coastal systems, the processes driving sustainability of coastal wetland carbon storage in the future, potential incentives for coastal blue carbon, and policy and governance challenges.

The workshop was held to inform an ongoing National Academies study, Developing a Research Agenda for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration. Other workshop topics in the study, for which proceedings will be produced include terrestrial carbon sequestration, bioenergy with carbon capture, direct air capture, and geologic sequestration.

The final publication of the study will be an expert consensus report that outlines a detailed research and development agenda to assess the benefits, risks, and sustainable scale potential for carbon dioxide removal and sequestration approaches, as well as to increase their commercial viability.

Land Management Practices for Carbon Dioxide Removal
and Reliable Sequestration:
Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

Terrestrial carbon sequestration is a process that involves the capture of carbon dioxide from the air by plants, through photosynthesis, and the storage of that carbon in woody biomass and in plant-derived soil organic carbon. Although terrestrial carbon sequestration regularly occurs in nature, there are human actions that can help maintain and enhance the carbon sequestration capacity of land—and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

This new publication summarizes a webinar and workshop that addressed:

  • The current state of knowledge on the capacity of land management practices as a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approach and the scientific and technical research requirements to achieve this capacity.
  • The research needs for predicting—across multiple scales—the impact of land use change and management practices to the future of terrestrial carbon storage and CDR potential.
  • The state of knowledge on policies and incentives, and socio-economic constraints on terrestrial carbon sequestration activities.

Direct Air Capture and Mineral Carbonation Approaches for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration:
Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

Direct air capture (DAC) refers to a range of technologies that capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air. These technologies include chemical scrubbing processes that capture CO2 through absorption or adsorption separation processes. DAC can also refer to processes that involve rapid mineralization of CO2 at the Earth’s surface, termed mineral carbonation.

This new publication summarizes a webinar and workshop that addressed:

  • Technological readiness of DAC technologies, including cross-cutting considerations and potential environmental impact;
  • Scientific questions for developing a research and development agenda for DAC, and assessment of co-benefits, costs, and barriers to implementation of this technology at significant scales.