A new study has been released which reveals the prospects for carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) in India.

The study examines whether CCS would be a suitable technology for cutting down India’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Drawing on a survey of energy experts with particular knowledge of India, it also explores how CCS might be developed and deployed in the Indian context. It was commissioned by Christian Aid and written by researchers from the Universities of Surrey and Edinburgh.

Professor Matt Leach, Director of the Centre for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey said, “India is currently ranked fourth in the world in terms of its total annual carbon dioxide emissions. Identifying technically and socially viable options for India to participate in global action to mitigate the risk of dangerous climate change is, therefore, critical.”

“This study shows that CCS could play a vital role in future action to reduce Indian greenhouse gas emissions within a portfolio of measures that could be implemented internationally.”

Survey respondents expect that coal will remain ‘king’, playing a significant role in providing energy and electricity in India until 2050 at least. This is despite measures to significantly increase the role of other energy resources, such as wind, solar and nuclear energy.

In this context, CCS technologies could be important, for example, it is expected that a typical CCS project at a power plant burning coal could reduce carbon dioxide emissions from that plant by at least 90%.

Rudra Kapila, of the Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage and the lead author for the study said, “Currently CCS technology is not deemed a priority for the Indian government. The survey results suggest that it could become more important in the future though.

He added, “As a developing country, India faces significant challenges in deploying low carbon technologies such as CCS. Our research suggests that developed countries will need to take the lead on demonstrating CCS at commercial scale before any commercial-scale CCS projects can be considered in India.”

India is currently building a fleet of Ultra Mega Power Plants (UMPPs) that will use significant volumes of coal to make electricity for several decades. They will not use CCS when they start-up in the next few years.

Having the option to fit CCS to these plants later in their lives could, however, make a significant contribution within an international context for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the future. The report, therefore, suggests that India could be given appropriate support to ensure that these plants are built ‘carbon capture ready’. This should ensure that CCS technology could be installed in the future.