Up to 28 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will be captured by existing operational carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects this year, according to a new report launched today.
Now in its sixth year, the Global Status of CCS 2015 report notes that the number of operational CCS projects presently stands at 15, with another seven projects in various stages of construction and due to come online in the next 18 months.
These 22 projects hold the key to closing the gap between current international climate commitments, and what scientists say is needed in order to meet a global warming target of 2° Celsius, according to the organisation responsible for the report, the Global CCS Institute.
The newly launched publication profiles two large-scale CCS projects that became operational in 2015 – the Canadian Quest project and the Uthmaniyah CO2-EOR Demonstration Project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Uthmaniyah is the first large-scale CCS project in the Middle East.
Speaking from the launch of Shell’s landmark Quest project in Alberta, Canada, Brad Page – CEO of the Global CCS Institute – said the substantial gap between international climate commitments and what scientists say is needed means all available technologies must be used.
He explained, “If the world is serious about tackling the reality of climate change, we have to make full use of all available technology options – and especially CCS.”
“It is vital that we share the knowledge and learnings highlighted by these trail-blazing CCS projects and apply them to projects in operation, projects currently being built, and projects at the earliest stages of assessment. These major projects show CCS is a proven technology that is reducing CO2 emissions by millions of tonnes in different countries around the world.”
Page added, “CCS has a vital role to play as part of the overall technology mix required to meet the internationally agreed goal of limiting the impact of global warming to two degrees. Now is the time for decision-makers to make a renewed commitment to this vital low-carbon technology.”
By 2017, the 22 CCS projects described in the new report will be able to capture and store 40 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. This is equivalent to taking eight million cars off the road.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report, released in November 2014, highlights the importance of CCS as a vital climate mitigation technology.
Without CCS, the cost to avoid a global warming of more than 2°C would likely increase by 138% – more than double.
With this in mind, Page is keen to point out that it is not just power generation emissions that the world need to think about – and that CCS is capable of mitigating emissions from all manner of industrial processes.
“It’s important to realise that CCS is not just about power generation emissions,” he encouraged. “CCS is the only technology that can achieve large reductions in emissions from industrial processes such as manufacturing iron and steel, chemicals and cement. The industrial sector as a whole accounts for around 25% of the world’s CO2 emissions.”
In addition to highlighting the combined capture potential of current and pending CCS projects, the Global Status of CCS 2015 also highlights the global disparity between CCS and other low-carbon technologies from a policy and regulatory perspective.
“Policy and regulatory support are the key to stimulating investment in CCS, and it’s important to recognise that since 2007, total global CCS investment has been less than $20bn,” said Page.
Coming up this December
Learn more about the role of CCS technology, the disparity in policy and action, and ‘getting real’ about carbon capture in the December issue of gasworld magazine.
Back-to-back columns from Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page and Chris Davies, a former UK member of the European Parliament and rapporteur for the CCS Directive, explain why technology, ingenuity and tangible supportive action can solve the climate challenge.