Cleaner power: reducing emissions with carbon capture and storage

For more than 30 years, ExxonMobil engineers and scientists have researched, developed and applied technologies that could play a role in the widespread deployment of carbon capture and storage.

Article Nov. 15, 2018

In this article

Cleaner power: reducing emissions with carbon capture and storage

Research opportunities with CCS

Achieving meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will require a wide range of solutions, and ExxonMobil believes that carbon capture and storage (CCS) has the potential to play an important role.

CCS is the process by which carbon dioxide from power-plant and other industrial activities that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere is captured, compressed and injected into underground geologic formations for safe, secure and permanent storage. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that fossil fuel power plants and large industrial facilities account for as much as 60 percent of global carbon emissions. Thus, the broad-based deployment of cost-effective carbon capture and storage would potentially make a massive impact on the world’s greenhouse gas levels.

The greatest opportunity for future large-scale deployment of CCS may be in the natural gas-fired power generation sector. While CCS technology can be applied to coal-fired power generation, the cost to capture CO2 is about twice that of natural gas power generation. In addition, because coal-fired power generation creates about twice as much CO2 per unit of electricity generated, the geological storage space required to store the CO2 produced from coal-fired generation is double that required for gas-fired generation.

In 2017, ExxonMobil captured 6.6 million metric tons of CO2 for storage – the equivalent of eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than 1 million passenger vehicles.

ExxonMobil is leveraging this expertise to conduct proprietary, fundamental research to develop breakthrough carbon capture technologies with an aim to reduce complexity, lower the cost and ultimately encourage wide-spread global deployment of this crucial technology.

The carbon capture and storage process

Carbon capture and storage chart

ExxonMobil is also developing sub-surface CO2 storage capability by leveraging decades of experience in the exploration, development and production of hydrocarbon resources. This expertise is key to permanently storing CO2 deep underground in a safe and secure fashion.

For example, we are collaborating with leading universities around the world to better characterize subsurface storage capacity and develop improved CO2 monitoring technologies and techniques.

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