The world is facing an unprecedented challenge in global climate change and if we do not act to combat rising emissions the impacts could lead to devastating consequences. Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) is one of the technologies the UK Government believes will play an essential role in helping to achieve this goal.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines CCUS as an “emissions reduction technology that can be applied across the energy system.” CCUS technologies involve the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fuel combustion or industrial processes, transporting captured CO2 via ship or pipeline, and its reuse as a resource for production and services or permanent storage deep underground in geological formations.
The UK Climate Change Committee describes CCUS as a necessity, not an option, to achieving net zero. CCUS will help to decarbonise ‘hard to reach’ industrial sectors, provide low-carbon power, and is a pathway to the goal of negative emissions – when productive CO2 comes from bio-based processes or directly from the atmosphere. As set out in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, CCUS will be an exciting new industry with the potential to revitalise British industry. It has been reported that CCUS could support up to 50,000 jobs in the UK by 2030.
The potential for growth of CCUS over the next decade is enormous. With the help of supportive policies and incentives European capacity is projected to hit 222 million tpa by 2030,a notable increase from the 7 million tpa of CO2 captured today. Economic and financial constraints are the main reason for CCUS projects not moving ahead as planned, but more countries are starting to see the importance of providing support to such projects. Demand for carbon capture projects through to 2030 will be predominantly driven by government policies and support, especially for hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as cement, steel, maritime and chemicals.
It is an exciting time to learn about the prospects for CCUS as the technologies come of age and their benefits become clear. The Government recognises that education and awareness of CCUS is critically important to help understand the technology, application and benefits.
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