Global uptake of a low-carbon technology, vital to help the world meet its 2°C global warming target, has seen significant progress in the US, Canada and China while Europe lags behind, finds a report released in Brussels today.

The Global Status of CCS: February 2014 report reviews the current status of large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects worldwide, including the policy and regulatory developments affecting international decarbonisation efforts.

The report found 21 CCS projects in construction or operation worldwide, a 50% increase since 2011.

Global CCS Institute CEO, Brad Page, said the report tracked steady progress for CCS worldwide but with a significant slowdown in Europe, where four CCS projects were cancelled or put on hold.

However, the UK’s White Rose CCS project is receiving funding support to help move the project forward and there are strong hopes the same will be the case for its Peterhead Gas CCS project.

“The Middle East has the world’s first large-scale CCS project in the iron and steel sector move into construction, while China has doubled its number of large-scale CCS projects to 12 since 2011”

Page explained that CCS is not optional if we are to meet global 2°C warming targets, with fossil fuels expected to remain the primary energy source for the world for decades to come.

“For this low-carbon technology to reach the scale needed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, more countries need to match progress in places like the US, Canada and China which are bringing CCS projects online at a robust pace,” he said.

“The first large-scale CCS projects in the power sector, SaskPower’s Boundary Dam project in Canada and Southern Company’s Kemper County project in the US are nearing operation. These are of global significance as they show CCS operating at commercial scale in the power sector. The Middle East has the world’s first large-scale CCS project in the iron and steel sector move into construction, while China has doubled its number of large-scale CCS projects to 12 since 2011.”

Support

Page called for urgent policy support for funding allocations for CCS technologies, particularly in Europe where more flexible funding and policy arrangements are needed in an uncertain economic climate.

“Regulatory uncertainties are impacting the deployment of CCS technologies worldwide and strong policy action is needed to address this,” he urged. “Special deals for CCS are not needed. But treating CCS on the same basis as renewables as part of the policy approach to achieving a portfolio of low-carbon technologies is necessary and warranted.”

Europe is important to advancements in CCS technology, says Page, because the region has vast potential to store carbon dioxide, especially in depleted gas fields and deep saline formations under the North Sea.