World leaders ‘must support CCS projects’ to cut CO2 emissions

Policymakers must do more to limit an increase in CO2 emissions through the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects across a wider range of global industries and regions.

That’s the overwhelming argument put forward in the latest report from the Global CCS Institute – The Global Status of CCS 2014 – which makes the case for CCS as a way to meet international climate targets and keep global warming beneath two degrees. (Scroll down for report summary).

CCS prevents CO2 from entering the atmosphere by capturing up to 90% of the CO2 emissions pro-duced by burning fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes.

The Global CCS Institute has identified 55 large-scale CCS projects around the world, including 19 projects in the early stages of development planning.

However, the report argues that much more needs to be done to ensure a ‘potential portfolio’ of planned CCS projects is converted into an ‘actual portfolio’ of operating projects by 2020.

Policy support over the last five years has not been strong enough to launch the number of large-scale CCS projects anticipated at the start of the decade with more than 40% of those asked indicating that the incentives currently in place aren’t adequate to ensure projects are completed.

Developing world

The Institute also suggests that CCS project progress must be accelerated in the developing world as well as developed countries.

In its 2012 Energy Technology Perspectives, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that 70% of CCS operation must happen in developing countries by 2050 to achieve the two degrees global emission scenario.

IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said: “After many years of research, development, and valuable but rather limited practical experience, we now need to shift to a higher gear in developing CCS into a true energy option, to be deployed in large scale.

“It is not enough to only see CCS in long-term energy scenarios as a solution that happens some time in a distant future. Instead, we must get to its true development right here and now.” 

Viable industry

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) – a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies and the UK Government – has welcomed the publication of the report.

ETI programme manager for CCS Andrew Green said: “At the ETI we have for a long time advocated the importance of CCS as a key component of any future low carbon energy system, because of its wide systems application and value. Today’s report from the Global CCS Institute highlights some positive momentum for the industry which it is important to exploit.

“The UK could be at the forefront of a global CCS market. The UK is making progress with the DECC CCS Competition but more work needs to be done. It is important that as a country we learn and collaborate with these international activities to provide a benefit back to the UK.

“Strong momentum is needed to make the industry both competitive and viable. That means it is essential that the industry builds confidence in its ability to deliver, to attract the investment required to make the potential of CCS a reality.”

In September, edie reported on a Cambridge University survey suggesting that a lack of public awareness may be undermining the use of CCS for tackling carbon emissions.

REPORT: The Global Status of CCS


Lois Vallely

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