A Primer on Carbon Capture and Storage
The founder and chairman of Lawrence Energy Group LLC, David Lawrence spent the majority of his career as an executive with Shell Upstream Americas in Houston and Royal Dutch/Shell in London and The Hague. He retired from Shell in 2013. Starting his career at the United States Geological Survey and in Shell’s Bellaire Research Center, David Lawrence is a longtime advocate of energy research and development, particularly in areas such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).
CCS refers to the process of capturing carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion before it is released into the atmosphere. Once the carbon dioxide is captured, it must be stored in such a way that it does not leak into the surrounding environment and cause damage.
Carbon capture typically involves separating carbon dioxide from the other gases produced in industrial applications and electricity generation. Pre-combustion capture involves converting fuel into a mixture of gases before ever burning it for energy. In post-combustion capture, engineers extract carbon dioxide from combustion exhaust using membrane filtration, adsorption, or cryogenic separation.
After capturing carbon dioxide, engineers typically store the gas in geological rock formations several miles below the surface of the earth. Ideal candidates for carbon storage areas include some select former gas and oil fields, which have already been assessed thoroughly in geological and hydrodynamic terms.