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Nearly four years after Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and allocated nearly $3.5 billion to carbon capture and storage development, the Department of Energy has finally brought a large-scale integrated demonstration project online. Capture and storage operations recently kicked off at Air Products and Chemicals’ Port Arthur project in Texas’ Gulf Coast, DOE confirmed this week. The $430 million industrial capture retrofit onto a hydrogen production facility owned by Valero Energy Corp. is officially the first project in DOE’s CCS demonstration portfolio to begin full-scale operations, according to the Department....

Capture at the hydrogen facility’s second steam methane reformer is expected to begin in April, and the two units together are expected to capture roughly one million metric tonnes of CO2 annually, ultimately helping produce up to three million additional barrels of oil annually for Denbury, according to DOE. The Department allocated $284 million in stimulus funding to the project....

CO2 capture for industrial operations is seen as particularly critical in the eyes of organizations like the International Energy Agency. While power generators can choose to pursue other lower-carbon options for generating electricity instead of CCS to meet emissions reduction goals, CO2 capture is considered the only path currently available for reducing emissions from industrial operations. IEA estimates that in order to limit the effects of climate change to a manageable level, 82 industrial capture projects must be in operation by 2020. But in its most recent technology report, IEA finds that while that goal is technically feasible, current investment patterns are “woefully off pace.”

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