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Report: Ohio River Valley Has Potential for Regional CCUS Hub

The Ohio River Valley is home to over 100 small to midsize industrial facilities. According to a recent report by the EFI Foundation and Horizon Climate Group, these facilities and their close proximity present an opportunity for decarbonization by utilizing carbon capture and underground sequestration (CCUS).

Industrial emissions were the source of 23 percent of the nation’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2021. Recent data shows that these emissions have grown annually since 2021, and are continuing to trend upward. Unlike other economic sectors, decarbonizing industry in the United States has proved to be a difficult endeavor. However, advancements in CCUS technologies have made the process more technically and economically viable, especially in small to midsize facilities.

The report identified 10 regions in the country that are home to clusters of industrial facilities, which are located close to each other and often share infrastructure. According to the EFI Foundation, CCUS deployment for industry should capitalize on these clusters by developing CCUS hubs in these regions using shared infrastructure to lower costs and GHG emissions.

Four regions, including the Ohio River Valley, were identified as especially suited for CCUS hub development. The Ohio River Valley is an interstate region, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, spanning from as far north as Cleveland, Ohio, west as Pittsburgh, Pa., and as south as Parkersburg, W.Va. The report found 112 facilities in the region, primarily steelmaking and natural gas and petroleum processing facilities, which when combined with the subsurface storage capacity, offer a uniquely suited landscape for CCUS hub development. These facilities cumulatively generate approximately 8.3 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, with petroleum and natural gas systems generating the lion’s share of emissions.

For these hubs to materialize, the EFI Foundation makes several recommendations to expedite and facilitate their development. These largely involve the need for further research and analysis of these regions, such as the geological storage capacity, existing related infrastructure, and governance systems to establish a cumulative understanding of the region.

However, the report does address ways that the governments can aid in this development. At the federal level, modifications to the Section 45Q tax credit, direct funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and expansion of Department of Energy programs to provide loans to developers could further incentivize such development.

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