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U.S. and Italy Sign Agreement to Collaborate on Carbon Capture and Storage Technologies

May 23, 2009 - 12:00am

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ROME, ITALY - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today joined with Italian Minister of Economic Development Claudio Scajola to sign a bilateral agreement to advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies in each country.  Working together, the U.S. and Italy will further the development of technologies needed to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired powered plants and move toward a sustainable low carbon economy that addresses the challenge of global warming.

"To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we must accelerate our efforts to capture and store carbon in a safe and cost-effective way.  This agreement between the Department of Energy and Italy's Ministry of Economic Development will play an important role in advancing the development and commercial deployment of CCS technologies in the years ahead," said Secretary Chu.

Secretary Chu and Minister Scajola met on the sidelines of the Group of 8 (G8) Energy Ministers' Meeting in Rome, where top energy leaders from around the world are addressing a range of energy policies that can help countries overcome the current economic and financial crisis while coping with urgent energy security and climate challenges.

The Clean Coal and Carbon Sequestration Annex signed between the two countries is part of the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to develop technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a major greenhouse gas and contributor to global climate change.  For example, the Department of Energy recently announced $2.4 billion in funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that will be used to expand and accelerate commercial CCS activities in the U.S.

Under the clean coal annex, Italy and the United States will cooperate on a wide variety of CCS projects and issue areas, including power generation processes, advanced coal gasification technologies, power system simulations, characterizing subsurface carbon sequestration potential, and exchanging CCS researchers.  Collaboration and cooperation in this area holds the potential to pilot different experimental technologies in each country and then learn from the successes and failures of these pilot projects as we improve the technology so it can be broadly deployed.  Co-development of these technologies could reduce the cost and allow for faster implementation in heavily coal dependent nations - holding the potential to significantly reduce future greenhouse gas emissions for the benefit of all nations.

Several universities and research centers have been identified for collaboration on the Italian side, and the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory will take the lead on behalf of the United States.

The joint work on carbon capture and storage is part of a larger Agreement on Energy Research and Development that was signed by the U.S. Department of Energy and Italian Ministry of Economic Development in October 2007.

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