The number of carbon capture and storage projects worldwide has doubled over the past five years, now capturing some 28 million tonnes of CO2 per year, but more support is needed if climate goals are to be met, a new report suggests.
According to the Global CCS Institute, two new installations capturing CO2 from industrial plants have been opened this year in Canada and Saudi Arabia, taking the overall number of CCS projects around the world to 15.
The Australia-based institute, whose members are governments and companies interested in the use of CCS to slow global warming, said that a more widespread deployment of the technology would be necessary to tackle climate change.
"CCS has a vital role to play as part of the overall technology mix required to meet the internationally agreed goal of limiting the impact of global warming to two degrees," said Brad Page, CEO of the Institute.
Page said global investment in CCS has reached $20bn since 2007 and now needs more policy and financial support for the technology to reach commercial scale.
"Compare that to investment of around 100 times that amount for renewable power-generation technologies over the same timeframe," he said. "A disparity in policy support is the main reason for this."
According to the report, a further seven projects are currently being built in Europe, the USA and China, scheduled to come online within the next 18 months. The new projects together with the existing ones will prevent 40 million tonnes of CO2 per year from being released into the atmosphere by coal-fired power plants.
The International Energy Agency has said that by 2040, four billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions must be captured to keep global warming at bay. That is 100 times more than the total that is expected to be online within the next 18 months.
The report said CCS technology is needed for countries to be able to meet a collective goal to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees celsius above preindustrial levels by the year 2100.
Page said the technology will be crucial in Asia, where emissions are projected to soar and countries have easy access to fossil fuels.