A pan-European project aims to turn polluting CO2 into a useable resource

Carbon capture projects see rapid expansion in 2021

Image credit: Arnold Paul

The number of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects around the world has been growing substantially in in the last nine months as firms look to offset their carbon emissions, a report has found.

According to the Global CCS Institute, the world’s total capacity for carbon capture increased for the fourth year in a row, by almost one-third over the previous year.

“CCS is absolutely critical to achieving net zero emissions and we anticipate growth in the sector to continue as climate ambition is increasingly matched with action,” said Global CCS Institute CEO Jarad Daniels.

“Although much more is required, commitment to climate action is progressing steadily and we’re seeing growing interest and support for CCS. As we accelerate toward net zero emissions by mid-century and establish clearer interim targets, CCS will be integral to the decarbonisation of energy, industrial sectors such as cement, fertilisers, and chemicals, and will open new opportunities in areas including clean hydrogen and carbon dioxide removal.”

The latest report shows that of the 135 commercial CCS facilities in the project pipeline, 27 are fully operating, four are under construction, and 102 are under development. Furthemore, an additional 71 new CCS facilities were added to the project pipeline in 2021.

As of September, the CO2 capture capacity of all CCS facilities under development has grown from 73 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 111 Mtpa – a 48 per cent increase over 2020.

North America continues to be the global front runner in CCS deployment, with over 40 new CCS projects announced in 2021.

The report attributes this to CCS tax credits alongside stronger climate commitments from the Biden Administration such as the re-joining of the Paris Agreement.

CCS projects are also becoming increasingly diverse, the report found, with facilities in development in a broad range of sectors including power generation, liquefied natural gas (LNG), cement, steel, waste-to-energy, direct air capture and storage and hydrogen production.

“The momentum we have seen over the last year towards CCS is considerable, however more is required if we are to reach climate goals,” said Guloren Turan, a general manager at the Global CCS Institute.

“The International Energy Agency’s Sustainable Development Scenario foresees 15 per cent of emissions reductions to come from CCS, requiring a one-hundred-fold increase in the capacity of operational facilities by 2050. While the acceleration of CCS adoption is promising, more urgency in the deployment of the technology is needed to reach 2050 climate goals.”

While CCS is expected to be a crucial technology for decarbonising some sectors such as long-haul flights or certain forms of manufacturing, researchers have said that companies need to focus on reducing their emissions first and only use CCS as a last resort.

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