This week The New York Times ran an interview with Dr. Jennifer Wilcox, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, on the role of carbon capture technologies in addressing U.S. climate goals. Dr. Wilcox is currently on as the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and leads the World Resource Institute’s Carbon Removal Program.
Here is some of what she had to say about CCUS:
- On safety: “Deep underground storage of CO2 is not new — the oil industry has been doing it for nearly 40 years through enhanced oil production, which is a commercial-scale activity today. Through this industry, we have gained expertise in safe and secure storage, and the same skills, work force, and expertise will apply for dedicated CO2 storage projects.”
- On deployment: “I see [CCUS] in a decade being deployed on industrial point sources that are hard to decarbonize today — cement, primarily, and in some cases, steel. Carbon capture on a cement plant really helps to drive down the carbon intensity of that product. And we’re looking at pulp and paper as well.”
- On the role of public policy: “My work previously has provided just model extrapolations of what costs could be, but the reality is we need the funding to actually build them. And it needs to be transparent so that the policies are priced right for the private sector to then take it the rest of the way. The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management’s work can build the more costly first-of-its-kind demonstrations.”
- On the biggest challenge CCUS faces for widespread adoption: “The lack of education and effective communication.”
On this last point, the Capture Action Project hopes to play a role in helping to address that hurdle. Our Resource Library hosts several studies on how carbon capture technologies are being leveraged today, and you can always check out our blog where we breakdown the role of CCUS in our energy landscape.