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Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) can be applied across sectors vital to our economy, including cement, steel, fertilizers, power generation and natural gas processing, and can be used in the production of clean hydrogen.
Research shows that this technology is safe and effective, and Alberta’s government is committed to safely advancing this technology.
A safe and effective approach
Carbon capture and storage is a safe and proven technology that is deployed in several other jurisdictions in the world, including Saskatchewan, the United States, Norway, Australia, the Netherlands and Iceland. CCUS technology has been in use for more than 50 years, and around 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) have already been successfully captured and injected underground. (Source: Global CCS Institute)
Through CCUS, captured CO2 from large-scale projects is stored deep below the earth’s surface, typically more than 1 km underground. For millions of years fossil fuels (oil and gas) were trapped underground in similar geologic formations. The rocks targeted to store CO2 are the same type as those currently hosting the oil and gas. Research demonstrates that various geological trapping mechanisms will safely contain the carbon dioxide deep underground, preventing the carbon dioxide from having any impacts on water, plants or the soil.
Careful site selection and rigorous monitoring serve to ensure the injected carbon dioxide remains sequestered and does not have any impact on fresh water, plants, or the soil.
Read the energy fact sheet (PDF, 388 KB) for more information on the safety of CCUS, and learn about how carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) works and benefits all of us.
A history of success
Alberta has been using carbon storage on a commercial scale since 2015. In fact, the Quest and Alberta Carbon Trunk Line projects have safely captured and stored a total of more than 10.5 million tonnes of CO2 since starting operations.
The Alberta government remains committed to ensuring public and environmental safety as we advance this technology in the province.
Strong regulatory oversight
Through the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), the province has one of the most advanced regulatory systems in the world to ensure the safe, efficient, orderly and environmentally responsible development of energy resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.
Alberta has some of the most stringent guidelines in the world to protect public safety, the environment and landowners. The capture, transport and storage of CO2 is well-regulated and each project must be designed, operated and decommissioned in accordance with all applicable environmental regulations and laws. For any CCUS project to move forward, the operator will need to obtain regulatory approvals for energy-related facilities from the AER for CO2 capture, transportation, subsurface injection and storage activities. The AER will ultimately only approve projects that meet the province’s rigorous safety and environmental standards.
Legislation requires that carbon sequestration projects provide and follow a comprehensive monitoring, measurement and verification (MMV) plan and provide a site closure plan. This MMV plan is intended to ensure the injected CO2 is contained and conforming to the predictive modelling in order to protect human health, groundwater resources, hydrocarbon resources and the environment.
Developing environmentally-safe storage hubs
Developing carbon storage will help diversify the energy sector, including developing clean hydrogen and supporting the shift towards a net-zero electricity grid. To help manage the growth of this technology, Alberta is also allocating carbon sequestration rights through a competitive process that enables the development of carbon storage hubs. Alberta selected 25 proposals in 2022 to begin exploring how to develop environmentally-safe carbon storage hubs. This approach will ensure that carbon capture and sequestration will be deployed responsibly and strategically in the best interest of Albertans. For a project to move forward, the operator will need to obtain regulatory approvals from the AER for the CO2 capture, transportation and the subsurface injection activities. Learn more about the hub development and approval process.
Connect with Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: [email protected]
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