Promising synergies to address water, sequestration, legal, and public acceptance issues associated with large-scale implementation of CO2 sequestration

  • Benjamin Court
  • Thomas R. Elliot
  • Joseph Dammel
  • Thomas A. Buscheck
  • Jeremy Rohmer
  • Michael A. Celia
Original Article


Stabilization of CO2 atmospheric concentrations requires practical strategies to address the challenges posed by the continued use of coal for baseload-electricity production. Over the next two decades, CO2 capture and sequestration (CCS) demonstration projects would need to increase several orders of magnitude across the globe in both size and scale. This task has several potential barriers which will have to be accounted for. These barriers include those that have been known for a number of years including safety of subsurface sequestration, pore-space competition with emerging activities like shale gas production, legal and regulatory frameworks, and public acceptance and technical communication. In addition water management is a new challenge that should be actively and carefully considered across all CCS operations. A review of the new insights gained on these previously and newly identified challenges, since the IPCC special report on CCS, is presented in this paper. While somewhat daunting in scope, some of these challenges can be addressed more easily by recognizing the potential advantageous synergies that can be exploited when these challenges are dealt with in combination. For example, active management of water resources, including brine in deep subsurface formations, can provide the additional cooling-water required by the CO2 capture retrofitting process while simultaneously reducing sequestration leakage risk and furthering efforts toward public acceptance. This comprehensive assessment indicates that water, sequestration, legal, and public acceptance challenges ought to be researched individually, but must also be examined collectively to exploit the promising synergies identified herein. Exploitation of these synergies provides the best possibilities for successful large-scale implementation of CCS.


CO2 capture and sequestration Implementation barriers Synergies Legal and regulatory Public acceptance Water management Brine production Pressure management Pore space competition Area of review Risk mitigation 



This work was supported in part by the Carbon Mitigation Initiative at Princeton University and by the Environmental Protection Agency under Cooperative Agreement RD-83438501. Funding from: NSERC Canada; DOE Project #DE-FE0000749**; the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy through the National Energy Technology Laboratory; and the BRGM’s directorate of Research project CSCR03 supported the second through fifth authors, respectively.

** This has been funded by the United States Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, under Grant DE-FE0000749. Disclaimer: Neither the U.S. government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by the U.S. governing or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the U.S. government or any agency thereof.

The authors wish to thank Judith Swan from Princeton University for her help in preparing this paper. William Roberts from Aunt Spray produced Fig. 1.

Finally the authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Court
    • 1
  • Thomas R. Elliot
    • 1
  • Joseph Dammel
    • 2
  • Thomas A. Buscheck
    • 3
  • Jeremy Rohmer
    • 4
  • Michael A. Celia
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Humphrey Institute of Public AffairsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLivermoreUSA
  4. 4.BRGMOrléans Cedex 2France

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