A University of Wyoming Economist has joined forces with colleagues from the University of Texas-Austin to study the economic and political barriers related to carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).

With help of a $750,000 three-year grant from the ALgred P. Sloan Foundation, Chuck Mason from the University of Wyoming hopes to identify and help overcome the barriers to deployment of CCUS technology and help to decarbonise Wyoming’s fossil fuel industry.

“The fact that large-scale deployment has not really taken off suggests that there are significant remaining economic and political barriers to implementing CCUS at scale,” Mason and his Texas colleagues wrote.

“In our view, a much larger social science research effort is needed to identify and overcome the barriers to large-scale CCUS deployment if it is to fulfil its envisioned role in the global climate change mitigation effort.”

Together, Texas and Wyoming boast five of the ten large-scale CCUS projects in operation in the US; 73% of the nation’s annual CO2 storage capacity; and 65% of the total miles of CO2 pipelines in the country.

Looking to further boost CCUS in the states, Mason and his colleagues will explore questions about CCUS costs; barriers to investment and implementation; and trade-offs relative to other climate mitigation approaches and policies.

The project also aims to build a new network of scholars at other institutions to address economic and public policy issues related to CCUS.