Carbon, Research

PCOR: Paving the Way for CCUS

The Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership began in 2003 as one of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSPs) awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The PCOR Partnership was led by a team of experts at the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and eventually boasted more than 120 public and private sector stakeholders.

Throughout its duration, the PCOR Partnership uncovered new possibilities in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). Social acceptance, policy creation and reform—especially Class VI Primacy, and commercialization of CCUS technologies are a few of the many monumental achievements from this period. “PCOR set the stage as a world leader in that space,” said EERC CEO Charles Gorecki. “After seeing the progress made in regard to tax credits, primacy, and outreach, technical viability almost seems like the easiest thing we’ve done.”

The focus on wide-scale deployment of CCUS technologies, and the supported projects stemming from PCOR research have proven CCUS to be a valuable part of protecting our environment into the future. North Dakota CarbonSAFE, Wyoming CarbonSAFE, Project Tundra, and Red Trail Energy’s CCS Project are examples of what has been made possible with the advanced research and development techniques led by PCOR. 

It goes beyond PCOR. It started as a DOE-funded program with the goal of reducing carbon intensity, and it has blossomed into so much more. It’s gone from needing to understand, ‘Is CCUS possible in this region,’ to small-scale demonstrations, then large-scale demonstrations, and now commercial efforts. The original DOE vision is being realized right now. 

Ed Steadman, EERC Vice President for Research

December 31, 2019, marked the end of a decade and the end of the 16-year program known as the Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership. However, the program will continue in a new way as the PCOR Initiative. In September 2019, DOE announced a $5 million grant for the PCOR Initiative to accelerate the development and commercialization of CCUS technologies. “PCOR isn’t just ending. There’s more to come,” said Gorecki. 

For more information about the PCOR Initiative, please visit

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