Is carbon capture, utilisation and storage finally about to get a leading role on the global energy stage after waiting in the wings for more than a decade?
I suspect the answer is ‘yes’.
The energy sector – and more importantly governments – have realised that hitting long-term targets to cut emissions won’t come from quick-fix ‘solutions’.
And there’s certainly nothing ‘quick’ about putting CCUS into large-scale commercial operation. It costs millions and takes time to develop and then refine the process – all of which is why it went out of vogue for some years.
However, that time and cost pays off – in every sense – because there is no better way to curb industrial greenhouse gases.
The International Energy Agency has today (Thursday, 24 September 2020) added its voice to those advocating a sustained drive to push CCUS higher up the energy investment agenda.
“In a path towards meeting international goals, CCUS is the only group of technologies that contributes both to reducing emissions in key sectors directly and to removing CO2 to balance emissions that cannot be avoided,” says IEA executive director Fatih Birol at the launch of a new report into CCUS technologies.
He adds that a new dawn for CCUS will “form a key pillar of efforts to put the world on the path to net-zero emissions”.
There’s only around 20 commercial CCUS projects currently in operation globally, but that slow pace of development is at last accelerating. The US has given CCUS development a kick-start via tax credits and Norway – always at the forefront of the technology – has recently unveiled significant further funding.
With plans for more than 30 commercial CCUS facilities announced in the last 36 months in countries including Australia, China and South Korea, it seems there is, at last, a momentum that will carry through to 2050 and beyond.
It’s been a long time coming for CCUS… but some things are worth the wait.
Until next time,