To meet Paris Agreement targets, researchers have discovered that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology must see more rapid deployment, despite it being ‘ready and available’ in all power generation and industrial sectors that require decarbonisation.

Published in the journal ’One Earth’, the paper, entitled ‘Carbon capture and storage at the end of a lost decade’ is a joint effort between scientists from the University of Edinburgh (UoE), University of Oxford, and University of Strathclyde.

The ten-year study examined the progress of CCS in addition to all planned projects worldwide, revealing that, although the technology is ready for use, the current rate of construction will only deliver 10% of what is required to reach net zero by 2050.

Likening the progress to ‘planting trees to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) but on a much bigger scale’, Professor Stuart Haszeldine, Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) Director, University of Edinburgh, said, “The best time to plant a climate tree was 30 years ago, the best time to build a CCS project to permanently store CO2 is right now.”

The authors revealed that this lack of deployment, including the lack of commitment to building projects after 2027, is due to an absence of market price or reward for storing CO2 to benefit the climate.

Urging world leaders to address the issue during the ongoing COP26 event, the team stated that working projects need to be built at 10-50 times the current rate.

The work emphasised that CCS is not limited to greenhouse gas (GHG) removal, but can also assist in the production of low-carbon hydrogen and industrial fertilisers.

“To get the world emissions decreased to anything close to IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) models of a sustainable future means that CCS needs to come out of hiding in this decade,” said Dr Stuart Gilfillan, UoE, who co-ordinated the study.

The research, funded by the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC) and SCCS, is available to viewed on open access here.