A study published in the reputable Nature magazine has once again emphasised the importance of inclusion of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as part of the array of solutions required for the Paris agreement climate goals to be met.

The study, Paris Agreement climate proposals need a boost to keep warming well below 2°C, published in Nature has reported that the 2050 emission reduction target associated with the long-term climate goal of the agreement requires mass deployment of the technology.
CCS model
It highlights the critical need for CCS to prevent huge volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions being released into the atmosphere from existing industrial and power generation sources.

The study says new CCS capacity would need to be installed on emission sources equivalent to around 85 GW of coal-fired power generation each year from 2030 to 2050, to reach a required annual capture target of approximately 10 gigatonnes of CO2 per year. This is about the same as the combined solar and wind generation capacity that is installed annually today.

Chief Executive Officer of the Global CCS Institute, Brad Page, said the long-term disinclination to support CCS in comparison to renewable energy sources continues to limit the realistic ability of many nations to reduce their emissions consistent with limiting global warming to ‘well below’ 2°C.

“All low carbon technologies must be part of this global mitigation effort – including renewables, nuclear power, energy efficiency, and CCS,” Page told World Coal. “Globally, more than 2400 new coal-fired power stations are already planned for construction by the year 2030. Thousands more facilities are already operational … CCS is vital to limiting the emissions that are effectively already locked in by these facilities, but we have to overcome the policy inertia and reluctance to support CCS that is actively preventing investment in this vital technology.”

“The entrenched policy disparity that has delivered more than US$800 billion in support to renewables over the past 10 years compared to less than US$20 billion for CCS over all time is the dominant driver of the very strong private sector investment in renewables compared to CCS. The simple fact is that we need both to meet climate targets.”

“This policy disparity is costing the world valuable time to scale up a proven emissions reduction solution. Renewables alone cannot get us to the necessary emissions reduction targets within the necessary timeframe. Gas-fired power generation without CCS remains too carbon-intensive to be considered a realistic solution in its own right,” Page concluded.

Recent political events are adding to the uncertainty surrounding the technology’s future and potentially hindering it from playing a part in decarbonisation. Judith Shapiro of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association told Power Engineering International its a case of wait and see, in terms of the impact of Brexit, the British decision to leave the European Union.

“At present, a number of projects have benefitted from EU funding and so there is a question over the status of this funding and what the opportunities would be to secure future funding from EU for CCS in the UK.”

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