Texas To Become The Largest Contributor Of Carbon Removal, Study Shows

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Removing massive amounts of CO2 emissions is essential for countries around the world to reach their climate goals. A group of researchers has recently published a paper analyzing and mapping the carbon dioxide removal (CDR) potential across the US states under the country’s net-zero goal with Texas highlighted as a leader state. 

The paper titled Regional implications of carbon dioxide removal in meeting net zero targets for the United States is led by Chloé Fauvel, Research Analyst at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) with participation from Professor Jay Fuhrman, Yang Ou, William Shobe, Scott Doney, Haewon McJeon and Andrés Clarens.

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The research is based on the Global Change Analysis Model for the United States and is used to analyze how regional resources will influence and be influenced by CDR deployment in service of United States national net-zero targets. 

It shows that CDR will be deployed extensively and unevenly across the country. The types of CDR mostly examined are direct air capture with permanent storage (DACCS), bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), land-use change and BECCS liquids. 

CDR by state in 2050. Credit: Regional implications of carbon dioxide removal in meeting net zero targets for the United States, Environment research letter.

It is projected that the US will need to grow the carbon removal industry to 1.4 – 2.3 GtCO2 per year by 2050 to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions. Most of the potential carbon removal comes from direct air capture and less is coming from bioenergy with carbon capture.

The models show that Texas will become the largest contributor of carbon removal as its large area and geology that make it extremely favorable for carbon capture and storage. CCS includes both DACCS and BECCS and Texas is estimated to hold 13% of all underground CO2 storage capacity in the United States. The maximum amount of the DACCS capacity results for each state is directly proportional to that state’s geologic storage amount.

The next two largest DACCS contributors are Indiana and Ohio which hold 5.6% and 5.4% respectively of the geological CO2 storage capacity in the United States. 

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DACCS was found to constitute 68% of the carbon removal potential on average from all negative emissions approaches. Texas holds the largest quantity of this CO2 removal potential where the results suggest it can come to 328 MtCO2 of CO2 removed per year by 2050.

A number of other US states that have the necessary resources like geologic storage capacity and agricultural land can become net exporters of negative emissions but that will require reallocation of resources, such as natural gas and electricity, and a dramatic increase in water and fertilizer use in many places. 

The models are also not certain due to factors like political support and economic conditions that are still not well understood. Some negative emissions technologies are also not yet deployed at scale so their price at widespread implementation is still uncertain and could influence greatly their adoption. 

However, the study puts much-needed focus on the regional resource dynamics that CDR deployment at scale is likely to create.

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