DOE Study To Assess Shipping Carbon Emissions From Japan For Storage In Alaska

DOE Study To Assess Shipping Carbon Emissions From Japan For Storage In Alaska - Carbon Herald
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is initiating a formal study of the possibility of capturing carbon emissions in Japan and storing them underground in Alaska, building on recently announced cooperative agreements between Japan and the U.S., the Alaska Beacon has reported.

At an event in Anchorage earlier this week, DOE officials announced that the Biden administration is embarking on a significant inquiry: Can Alaska serve as the ultimate destination for carbon emissions from Japan?

For years, Alaska exported liquefied natural gas to Japan, contributing to substantial carbon emissions. Now, there is a proposal to capture these emissions, transport them back to Alaska, and store them underground in Cook Inlet, near Anchorage, as a measure to mitigate climate change.

This DOE initiative reflects a growing trend in carbon storage exploration, buoyed by President Biden’s climate legislation incentivizing the adoption of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, the Alaska Beacon said.

Alaska is currently debating legislation to establish a legal framework for CCS, while Japanese companies are closely monitoring developments in the state. However, skepticism persists among climate advocates regarding the efficacy of CCS in significantly reducing global warming.

Relevant: Alaska Paves Way For Carbon Capture And Storage

The new proposal was discussed in Anchorage this Tuesday among DOE officials, Alaska policymakers and fossil fuel executives, as well as some 15 representatives of Japan’s energy industries and government.

“Even as the decline of natural gas in the Cook Inlet heralds the end of a previous and impressive energy area in this region, awareness and interest is growing here in the region’s potential to become a storehouse for capturing carbon emissions — both domestically and internationally,” Brad Crabtree, from the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), was quoted as saying at the event.

One challenge for Alaska is its relatively low carbon emissions from major industrial facilities, Crabtree told Alaska Beacon in an interview after the event. However, the state’s potential as a storage hub could be realized through partnerships with high-emission countries like Japan and South Korea.

While Japan is eager to explore carbon storage options abroad due to limited domestic capacity, the economic viability of such ventures remains a concern.

According to an unnamed representative from a Japanese company, the interest from his country is “very, very early” as “the economics are painfully expensive.”

The DOE’s study will assess the technical and economic feasibility of shipping carbon emissions to Alaska for storage. Additionally, it will explore potential synergies with Alaska’s energy exports, such as hydrogen, to create a comprehensive energy value chain.

Furthermore, environmental considerations are paramount in evaluating the merits of CCS, according to Kelsey Schober, director of government affairs at the Alaska branch of global nonprofit Nature Conservancy.

It is crucial to prioritize reducing direct emissions, especially in industries difficult to decarbonize, rather than relying solely on CCS technologies, she warned.

Read more: Alaska Governor Introduces CO2 Storage Bills To Attract “Billions”

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