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Report Identifies Ohio River Valley as Potential Industrial CCUS Hub Region

On the heels of the Ohio River Valley being identified as one of 10 regions having the required characteristics to support and benefit from a carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) hub, a recent report by the EFI Foundation examines the potential for decarbonizing the industrial sector through CCUS.

EFI Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission is to educate the public “on issues relating to harnessing the power of technology and policy innovation to accelerate the clean energy transition.” It is affiliated with the Energy Futures Initiative, both of which were founded by former Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz. The study was co-authored by Horizon Climate Group, which provides analysis, interactive tools, and easy-to-understand insight on energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate solutions.

EFI Foundation’s report bolsters recent investments made into the Ohio River Valley area to create a CCUS hub. The Tri-State Carbon Capture and Storage Hub, a CCUS hub development program created by the Southern States Energy Board, recently received $444 million in funding from the Department of Energy for the project. The Tri-State Hub will serve small-to-midsized industrial facilities but could also have a potential use with the development of the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2), which plans to utilize CCUS as part of its process.

The study identified small-to-midsize carbon dioxide (CO2) emissive industrial facilities across the country, a subset of industry that is responsible for 25 percent of total industrial emissions. The survey identified 10 regional clusters of small-to-midsize industrial emitters in which the facilities are close enough to share CCUS infrastructure in a hub-like model.

A CCUS hub, according to the foundation, would decrease costs and increase the scalability of CCUS technologies by allowing multiple industrial emitters to share the same infrastructure.

The 10 regions identified include over 1,000 individual industrial facilities, which account for 111 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. Among these ten regions identified is what the foundation terms the Ohio River Valley, which includes western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and northern West Virginia.

The Ohio River Valley region alone is home to 112 small-to-midsize facilities, primarily petroleum and natural gas refining and steel-making facilities, which account for 8.3 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. The proximity of these facilities combined with “promising” subsurface geological storage formations contribute to the feasibility of a CCUS hub in the region. However, the report notes potential roadblocks to the development of a hub, more specifically, the lack of CO2-capable pipelines and related permitting regulations for CO2 pipelines.

CCUS has grown in the international energy conversation in recent years and was a key topic of the United Nation’s COP28 summit in Dubai this year. The agreement made among UN nations at COP28 to “phase out” fossil fuel use includes CCUS as a technology to be rapidly developed to aid in decarbonization.

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