DOE project hits carbon-capture milestone

The Department of Energy (DOE) touted the carbon-capture technology it is funding Thursday, saying a project at a hydrogen production facility in Port Arthur, Texas, has now captured more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide.

The facility, operated in partnership with Air Products and Chemicals Inc., catches more than 90 percent of the carbon dioxide released by the company’s hydrogen plant that would otherwise go into the atmosphere, the DOE said.

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Air Products uses the carbon dioxide to help oil drillers to get hard-to-reach oil in nearby fields, a process known as "enhanced oil recovery." This process stores the carbon dioxide permanently, and DOE officials estimate it will lead to 60 million to 90 million additional barrels of oil being produced from Texas’s West Hastings Field.

The department's announcement, made a day after the anniversary of the launch of President Obama’s major second-term climate initiative, said all the department’s carbon-capture projects have caught 7.5 million metric tons of the greenhouse gas.

“To date, Energy Department projects have helped to capture and securely store nearly 7.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions that otherwise would have been released into the atmosphere, helping to lay the groundwork for more widespread use of carbon sequestration,” Chris Smith, the DOE’s principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy, said in a statement.