Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has seen growing momentum and increased ambition this year, says the Global CCS Institute.
This vital suite of climate change technologies is expected to play a fundamental part in achieving the transition to a net-zero economy and help decarbonise energy-intensive industries globally, the institute noted in a statement issued on Monday.
A think tank report launched by the institute at the UN climate change conference COP25 finds that the deployment of CCS has continued to gather pace, with the pipeline of CCS projects continuing to grow for the second year in a row, up 37% since 2017.
Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page emphasised at the launch of the report, titled 'Global Status of CCS 2019 Report: Targeting Climate Change', that “this has been one of the worst years on record for climate”.
He explained that “the clock is ticking, the world must act”, particularly as global emissions continue to rise and climate impacts are expected to increase and have very dangerous implications. Bold climate action is needed to keep global warming to 1.5 °C, according to Page, who said that CCS needs to be part of the climate solutions toolbox to “tackle this challenge head on”.
The report shines a light on the next wave of CCS projects globally, while also highlighting the flexibility, applicability and increasingly positive economics of applying CCS to a range of emission sources.
The next wave of projects is expected to focus on large-scale abatement, through development of hubs and clusters. These capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from multiple industrial installations and use shared infrastructure for the subsequent CO2 transportation and storage to drive down costs.
There are now 51 large-scale CCS facilities in operation or under development globally in a variety of industries and sectors. These include 19 facilities in operation, four under construction and 28 in various stages of development. Of all the facilities in operation, 17 are in the industrial sector and two are power projects.
The US is currently leading the way in CCS development and deployment with 24 large-scale facilities, followed by 12 facilities each in Europe and the Asia Pacific region, and three in the Middle East.
“Despite this increased momentum and progress in CCS deployment, the number of facilities needs to increase 100-fold by 2040, and scaling efforts are just not happening fast enough,” Page warned, adding that “now is the time to rally for greater policy support and for capital to be allocated to build on the positive CCS progress of the past two years”.
Speaking at the report launch at COP25 in Madrid, Columbia University Center for Global Energy Policy senior research scholar Dr Julio Friedmann said the urgency of climate change and the harsh arithmetic of emissions demand CCS deployment without delay.
He added that policies that provide clean and durable alignment with markets and support continued innovation, especially expansion into new applications like heavy industry, hydrogen, and CO2 removal, would make or break the future.
Also commenting on the report, Grantham Institute chairperson Lord Nicholas Stern said, “[the world] needs to change the way [it] thinks about climate change as a global challenge and start to regard it as an opportunity for innovation and growth”.
Against this backdrop, he said, CCS became an ever more vital part of the process for reaching net-zero emissions.
Simultaneously, hydrogen is also receiving policy attention not seen for decades around the globe. CCS, as a means to produce clean hydrogen on a large scale, has gained momentum as part of this renewed interest in hydrogen as a clean energy vector of the future.
“Perhaps the most compelling development in the last 12 months though is that, increasingly, CCS is a stand-out technology to genuinely deliver a just transition for many fossil fuel-based communities,” said Page.
The report also features commentary and contributions from a wide range of leaders and influencers who draw on their expertise from across climate change, energy, academia, polar exploration, finance and CCS in voicing their support for the technology.