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When it Comes to Carbon Storage, the Name Is the Game

What’s in a name? When selecting a partner for carbon capture and storage (CCS), the name of the organization—along with the reputation and history behind that name—matters a great deal. It’s important to choose a company that has the right experience, present capabilities and future stability to see the project through.  

Establishing Stakeholder Trust for Carbon Storage Projects

Why do names matter? Because the right name establishes trust right off the bat. For a developing industry like CCS, building trust is critical.

  • Carbon emitters need to know that the company they have entrusted to store and monitor their carbon has the technical skills and stability to operate the storage site safely and reliably for decades.

  • Regulators and permitters must be assured that the site will be operated in accordance with all regulatory requirements to minimize risks for people and the environment.

  • Financiers who are supplying capital to the industry need assurance that due diligence has been completed and the value of their investment will be maintained for the long term.

  • And the public—especially communities near the storage site—need to trust that the site will be maintained and operated in a manner consistent with public safety, both today and in the future.

While the technology for subsurface storage of CO2 has been amply demonstrated, CCS as an industry is still new, and many project stakeholders are unfamiliar with the challenges associated with subsurface storage. A robust regulatory framework helps, but ultimately people must put their trust in the organization that will manage injection and storage and monitor the site through closure, decades in the future. This is important because storage is happening in the subsurface, where operations cannot be seen and monitored as easily as above-ground projects. Stakeholders must trust that the site operator has made accurate predictions of storage capacity, is properly monitoring injection and plume movement, and is prepared to report and respond to any anomalies that may arise.

Photo: birds eye view of a power plant

That makes selection of a carbon storage partner critical for carbon emitters wishing to reduce their carbon footprint and take advantage of tax credits such as 45Q. In addition to securing financing and permitting, they must consider public perception and trust. They also must take long-term liability issues into account. Should problems occur that cause the site to shut down, or should ownership changes impact operational capabilities, how will responsibility flow upstream to the emitter? If the storage site was designed to hold CO2 from multiple emitters, who gets impacted if real capacity turns out to be less than planned? What happens if the site operator changes hands or goes out of business—who then becomes responsible for long-term monitoring, problem resolution and site closure?

The Importance of a Name

That’s why the name matters when selecting a site operations partner for CCS. To establish trust among all stakeholders, it is important to select an organization with the right past, present and future.

  • Do they have relevant experience, a track record of successful project completion, and a strong history of stability? What is their reputation in the industry based on past performance?

  • Do they have the right skillsets on staff and technical capabilities to meet current regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations? Are they investing in innovations that will drive the industry forward and bring costs down?

  • Are they likely to be around for the duration of a project that could last 50 or more years into the future? Will they continue to adapt and apply new methods and technologies as they are validated?

Many companies entering this space are new and untested. While they may have an impressive list of capabilities, few have real proven experience in the field—especially when it comes to demonstrating the accuracy of their models over time and their ability to manage long-term, highly technical projects. More critically, many of these companies may not be around for the duration of the project. Young, emerging industries tend to have a lot of turbulence in the early years as new companies compete for market position. When considering a project that will have a 30- to 50-year lifecycle and potentially serious regulatory and legal implications if not managed properly, losing a site operations partner midstream creates significant problems for the original emitter. A project that is mismanaged or abandoned in later years will also reduce public trust in the industry as a whole.

That’s why companies count on the Battelle name for CCS projects. Battelle Carbon Services is one of the most established and trusted names in carbon storage, with a proven record of managing large-scale demonstration projects and pilot sites. As the industry moves into its commercial phase, we are continuing to invest in innovation to improve costs and outcomes for our clients and partners. And Battelle is a name you can count on for the long haul: we have 90+ years of innovation behind us and a strong future ahead of us. Whatever the future holds for CCS, we’ll be here to make it happen—safely and responsibly.

Looking for a carbon storage site operations partner? Learn what it takes and what to look for in our whitepaper:

Photo: Engineer examining power plant plans

Posted
November 30, 2022
Author
Battelle Insider
Estimated Read Time
4 Mins
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