NETL Creates Expansive Carbon Capture Pipeline Route Planning Database

NETL Creates Expansive Carbon Capture Pipeline Route Planning Database - Carbon Herald
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The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) announced on May 31st it has created a much-needed and expansive Carbon Capture and Storage Pipeline Route Planning Database to help guide routing decisions and increase transportation safety during the development of carbon capture pipelines.

To ensure a safe and reliable CO2 transport network, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) has been working with the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

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NETL’s database is supporting those efforts as the laboratory has identified technical gaps, prioritized research needs, and developed tools to facilitate and optimize a robust, national-scale CO2 transportation infrastructure. 

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The Carbon Capture Pipeline Route Planning Database is a comprehensive, national, big data resource that helps accelerate the country’s energy transition. With more than 90 gigabytes of spatial data, arranged in more than 40 data layers, and millions of individual features, the database provides critical insights into the complex social, environmental and regulatory variables that will be encountered during CCS deployment projects.

It also supports NETL’s ongoing work to develop a Smart Route Planning Tool, which will use machine learning algorithms to identify optimal routes for CO2 transport that are not only technically viable but also socially and environmentally responsible.

The country’s near-term goal is to expand the nation’s capability to transport 65 million metric tons of CO2 per year by 2030 and its long-term goal is to ensure the capability to transport 1 gigaton of CO2 per year by 2050.

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“Routing of pipelines, trains, and other infrastructure to facilitate CO2 transport depends on being able to evaluate a variety of regulatory, topographic, and potential risk variables. These complex systems require considerable investments and time to plan and complete; making it paramount that the best set of available information is utilized when planning and developing these systems,” explained NETL researcher Jennifer Bauer.

NETL announced the CCS Pipeline Route Planning Database just a day after a group of more than 150 climate and advocacy organizations sent a letter to President Joe Biden to block the authorization of all new carbon dioxide pipelines due to the lack of robust safety regulations which eventually threatens the lives of communities.

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As carbon capture and storage pipelines carry the hazardous CO2 gas and other contaminants, potential ruptures pose a threat to people that could get exposed to those gases. That is why planning and responsible build-out of that infrastructure is critical to ensure all issues regarding safety are being addressed.

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