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Singapore targets two million tonnes of CO2 capture by 2030

Image credit: DT

Singapore’s Economic Development Board has announced its aim to boost the city state’s carbon capture capacity to at least two million tonnes by 2030, as part of a wider move towards sustainability.

Singapore is aiming to establish a testbed for carbon capture technology on Jurong Island, which is dominated by a large oil refinery hub. There are more than 100 companies based on the island, including Shell, ExxonMobile, BP, DuPont, Chevron, Singapore Petroleum Company, and Singapore Refining Company. Jurong allows Singapore to rank among the top oil-refining powers despite having no crude oil deposits of its own.

Both Shell and ExxonMobile have expressed interest in building carbon capture facilities in the region; Shell revealed this week that it is exploring the possibility of a carbon capture and storage hub in Singapore.

Carbon capture has not yet been deployed on a large scale and remains economically unfeasible. However, the International Energy Agency acknowledges that carbon capture and storage will need to be accelerated to become a “key pillar” of carbonisation, given the scale of the challenge.

According to the Economic Development Board’s Sustainable Jurong Island report, Singapore hopes to reach two million tonnes of carbon capture from carbon-intensive activities based around Jurong Island by 2030. It will aim for more than six million tonnes per year of carbon abatement by 2050. According to IEA figures, Singapore emitted more than 47 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019.

These goals build on the sustainability ambitions for Jurong Island first announced in the Singapore Green Plan 2030.

The Economic Development Board will work with sustainable industrial development government agency JTC (formerly the Jurong Town Corporation) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research to study the feasibility of a carbon capture and utilisation test bed facility on Jurong.

Industry minister Gan Kim Yong announced the targets at the ground-breaking for a pyrolysis oil upgrader unit at Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Singapore.

“These sustainable solutions will also help us achieve our decarbonisation goals for other sectors like aviation,” said Gan. “It may not be too long before your flight out of Changi Airport is powered by sustainable biofuels made in Singapore.”

The board also set a 2030 target for its energy and chemicals sector to boost their output of sustainable products (such as biofuels) by 50 per cent compared with 2019 levels and by four times from 2019 levels by 2050. Its final target area is energy efficiency; it aims to ensure that its refineries and crackers are in the top quartile in terms of energy efficiency by 2030.

“Today, Singapore is one of the world’s leading [energy and chemicals] hubs. The sector contributes about 20 per cent of Singapore’s total output and employs 27,000 people. Against the backdrop of the global shift towards energy transition, the plan seeks to keep Jurong Island relevant, as the sector transforms,” said the board in a news release.

Carbon Action Tracker ranks Singapore’s climate action plan “critically insufficient”. It is aiming to reach net-zero emissions by 2060, ten years behind the 2050 target necessary to maintain global average temperature rises to within 1.5°C.

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