Curbing emissions has become a key priority for the energy sector, which has its sights set on developing new technologies to help break industry’s reliance on fossil fuels.
As part of this quest, Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) is fast becoming an essential tool in the race to decarbonize coal and gas-fired power plants and heavy industry applications. CCUS prevents CO2 emissions from these processes reaching the atmosphere. Once captured, the carbon is either used as a resource or securely stored deep underground.
The process offers a route to the deep emissions reductions needed across key industrial sectors, particularly in hard-to-abate industries like steel, cement and chemicals.
Although still in its early stages, CCUS could potentially capture a third of all industrial emissions by 2040. But to realize this opportunity, policymakers, investors and the energy sector need to develop a framework for the technology to scale-up and take off.
Today, there are 51 projects worldwide. Of these, 19 are operational, 4 more are under construction and 28 are at the planning and development stage. Most of the world’s carbon capture currently takes place in North America, including the Century Plant in Texas, which is the largest single industrial source CO2 capture facility in the world.
But news is spreading fast as awareness grows of the opportunities the sector presents.
The UK government has recently announced a Carbon Capture and Storage Infrastructure Fund to invest in establishing facilities in at least two UK sites – one scheduled to be operational by the mid-2020s and one by 2030.
This graphic reveals the numbers relating to today’s global CCUS sector, and what needs to happen in the future to hit global emissions-cutting targets.