Washington, DC - The United States has at least 2,400 billion metric tons of possible carbon dioxide (CO2) storage resource in saline formations, oil and gas reservoirs, and unmineable coal seams, according to a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) publication.

This resource could potentially store hundreds of years’ worth of industrial greenhouse gas emissions, permanently preventing their release into the atmosphere, says the 2012 edition of the Carbon Utilization and Storage Atlas (Atlas IV). Capturing CO2 emissions from large power and industrial plants and putting it to beneficial use or storing it in deep geologic formations is a key element in national efforts to mitigate climate change.

Of particular importance is that over 225 billion metric tons of storage capacity has been identified in depleted oil and gas fields which could accommodate storage of several decades of emission from stationary sources while simultaneously improving the energy security of the United States by enhancing oil and gas recovery.

Atlas IV was created by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) with input from DOE’s seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships and ten Site Characterization projects. Comprising more than 400 organizations in 43 states and four Canadian provinces, the regional partnerships are testing CO2 storage potential and investigating best practices for CO2 storage in a variety of geologic formations. The Site Characterization projects, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are furthering DOE efforts to assess the nation’s CO2 storage resource by developing additional characterization data for possible storage reservoirs.

The primary purpose of Atlas IV is to provide an update on the CO2 storage potential in the United States and to showcase updated information about the partnerships’ field activities and new information from the site characterization projects. Atlas IV outlines DOE’s Carbon Storage Program and its carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) collaborations, along with worldwide CCUS projects and CCUS regulatory issues. The atlas also presents updated information on the location of CO2 stationary source emissions and the locations and storage potential of various geologic storage sites, and it provides information about the commercialization opportunities for CCUS technologies from the regional partnerships.

The data used to create the resource estimates in Atlas IV is available in interactive form on the National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographic Information System (NATCARB) website.