CCS leaps 33% but more needs to be done

The global pandemic has not halted the growth of the world’s carbon capture industry according to a new report.

International think tank the Global CCS Institute, issued its annual report which found the total capacity of carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities operating and under development has grown by 33% world-wide over the last year alone.

The 2020 Global Status on CCS report reported that there are a total of 65 commercial CCS facilities in various stages of development globally.

“Climate ambition, including efforts to decarbonise industry, has not been curtailed despite the adversities faced in 2020”, said CEO of the Global CCS Institute, Brad Page. “We’re continuing to see an upward trajectory in the amount of CO2 capture and storage infrastructure that is being developed. One of the largest factors driving this growth is recognition that achieving net-zero emissions is urgent yet unattainable without CO2 reductions from energy intensive sectors.”.

Commitments to reach net-zero emissions saw significant support over the last year from governments and businesses alike, particularly in Europe and in Asia Pacific, spearheading CCS investment.

The Global CCS Status Report found:

  • The CCS facility pipeline continued to grow three years in a row, with global capture and storage capacity nearly doubling within three years and increasing by 33% since 2019.
  • Almost 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are being captured annually from 26 commercial CCS facilities currently in operation.
  • The United States, which is already home to the highest number of operational CCS facilities, continues its lead in the global CCS league and hosts 12 of the 17 new commercial facilities added to the project pipeline in 2020. The US has some of the most advanced supportive policies for CCS of any country in the world, including the enhanced 45Q tax credit and the California Low-Carbon Fuel Standard.
  • 2020 saw increased ambition and support for CCS in Europe as well. The Norwegian Government announced its green light for the Langskip project. Funding for CCS infrastructure was earmarked in the UK’s Spring Budget, with the goal of developing several hub and clusters during the decade. Elsewhere in Europe, the first call of EU’s €10 billion Innovation Fund, expected be a major source of funding for CCS projects, was launched in July, whilst the Porthos Project in Netherlands is scheduled to take a final investment decision in 2021.
  • In Asia Pacific, regional collaboration between countries and businesses continued to gather pace in 2020 in order to advance technical understanding and develop regulatory frameworks, with notably Australia and Japan making progress in terms of domestic policies and CCS investments.
  • In a move that will reduce both cost and risks to government and industry, CCS hubs and clusters – the shared use of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure among companies – is predicted to support a boom in the adoption of CCS in the coming years. CCS investments in the United Kingdom are largely geared towards hubs and cluster development, and nearly all new facilities in the United States will have access to shared storage sites

While the acceleration of CCS adoption is promising, deployment of the technology is not happening quick enough to reach 2050 climate goals, warned the report. CCS facilities will need to increase by more than a hundredfold by mid-century, as but one part of how the world will reach carbon neutrality.

“Even as the year comes to a close, commitments to reach net zero climate targets and scale up climate mitigating technologies continues to build momentum”, says Guloren Turan, General Manager at the Institute and one of the authors of the report. “Last month we saw the UK government earmark £1 billion with the goal of developing four hub and clusters by the end of the decade. In Asia Pacific, we saw national governments in China, Japan and South Korea commit to net-zero climate targets. Industrial decarbonisation is central to reaching carbon neutral goals and CCS has been, and will continue to be, a key component in making that happen.”

While the acceleration of CCS adoption is promising, deployment of the technology is not happening quick enough to reach 2050 climate goals. CCS facilities will need to increase by more than a hundredfold by mid-century, as but one part of how the world will reach carbon neutrality. The report echoes findings by the IPCC, which shows that CCS is vital to meet net-zero Paris climate targets.

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