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COP23: CCS Industry Warns More Than 2,000 Carbon Capture Plants Needed by 2040

 November 17, 2017

Global Status of CCS Report confirms 17 large scale CCS plants are now operational, but warns surge of development is urgently required

The Global CCS Institute has reiterated its warning that the pace of development across the fledgling carbon capture sector needs to accelerate sharply if the world is to meet the emissions goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

The industry-backed body yesterday published its annual Global Status of CCS Report on the sidelines of the COP23 climate summit in Bonn. It confirmed that the number of operational and large scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects globally has risen to 17 with a further four sites expected to come onstream next year.

As a result CCS projects are now capturing 37 million tonnes of CO2 a year, delivering emissions savings equivalent to taking eight million cars off the roads. The report added that to date more than 220 million tonnes of anthropogenic CO2 has been safely and permanently injected deep underground.

However, while the industry has demonstrated that it is technically possible to capture and store CO2 concerns about the cost of the technology have hampered its deployment at scale.

Consequently, the report reiterates warnings that the long term emissions reductions goals set out in the Paris Agreement are unlikely to be met without the widespread use of CCS technology, especially for capturing emissions from industrial sites and delivering negative emissions in conjunction with biomass power.

Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said "most serious analysis has concluded that it will be very difficult to achieve the Paris goals without carbon capture and storage or use".

"We must pursue low-carbon and zero-carbon growth across the board in our cities, infrastructure and land use," he added. "Carbon capture and storage or use can play a key role in the transition to low-carbon economic growth and development in many parts of the world."

Brad Page, CEO at Global CCS, said the sector needed to receive consistent policy support from governments.

"In the past year, we have seen significant advances in the number of facilities being deployed and awareness of CCS as a pivotal climate change solution is the highest it has ever been," he said. "Two large-scale facilities came onstream in the United States, eight moved into various stages of development in China, and in Europe, we have seen realisation that CCS is the only technology capable of decarbonising industry and creating a new energy economy - including hydrogen, bioenergy and CO2 re-use applications.

"However, the challenge still remains to ensure that CCS receives the same consideration and incentivisation as other clean technologies, particularly renewables

His comments were echoed by Energy Future Initiative Distinguished Associate, Dr Julio Friedmann, who argued CCS was struggling to secure the level of political backing enjoyed bvy other clean technologies.

"All the benefits commonly cited for renewables and nuclear, such as native industrial support, cost reduction, and emissions reduction, apply to CCS/CCUS as well," he said. "Attention must be paid, and speed is needed."

The report argues that in order to meet the Paris Agreement's goal of keeping temperature increases well below 2C at least cost the world needs to deploy more than 2,000 CCS facilities by 2040 capable of delivering 14 per cent of cumulative emissions reductions.

Some green groups have questioned the feasibility of deploying CCS at scale, arguing that the falling cost of renewables and the ability to electrify essential infrastructure represents a better path for delivering deep decarbonisation.

However, the CCS industry maintains that it can prove itself to be cost competitive when full lifecycle costs are considered.

The new report also highlights how the technology is proving highly versatile across five industrial sectors in the United States, capturing carbon from natural gas processing, power, fertiliser, hydrogen, and biofuels.

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