Carbon Capture & Storage

The International Energy Agency (IEA) 2013 report: Technology Roadmap: Carbon Capture and Storage has the aim of “assisting governments and industry in integrating CCS in their emissions reduction strategies and in creating the conditions for scaled-up deployment of all three components of the CCS chain: CO2 capture, transport and storage.”

“As long as fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries play dominant roles in our economies, CCS will remain a critical greenhouse gas reduction solution,” say the IEA in its overview of the roadmap. “To get us onto the right pathway, this roadmap highlights seven key actions needed in the next seven years to create a solid foundation for deployment of CCS starting by 2020.”

According to the IEA, CCS is a vital part of any lowest-cost mitigation scenario, particularly when temperature increase is limited to significantly less that 4°C. For example, to limit temperature rise to 2°C, the carbon capture rates must grow from the tens of megatonnes on CO2 captured in 2013 in thousands of megatonnes in 2050: “A total cumulative mass of approximately 120 billion t of CO2 would need to be captured and stored between 2015 and 2050, across all regions of the globe.”

Seven key actions for the next seven years

The IEA argues that the next seven years are critical to the accelerated development of CCS and offers seven key actions it sees as necessary up to 2020 to lay the foundation for scaled-up CCS deployment;

  1. Introduce financial support mechanisms for demonstration and early deployment of CCS to drive private financing of projects.
  2. Implement policies that encourage storage exploration, characterisation and development for CCS projects.
  3. Develop national laws and regulations as well as provisions for multilateral finance that effectively require new-build, baseload, fossil-fuel power generation capacity to be CCS-ready.
  4. Prove capture systems at pilot scale in industrial applications where CO2 capture has not yet been demonstrated.
  5. Significantly increase efforts to improve understanding among the public and stakeholders of CCS technology and the importance of its deployment.
  6. Reduce the cost of electricity from power plants equipped with capture through continued technology development and use of highest possible efficiency power generation cycles.
  7. Encourage efficient development of CO2 transport infrastructure by anticipating locations of future demand centres and future volumes of CO2.

A critical part of the climate solution

Commenting on the release of the roadmap, Milton Caitlin, CEO of the World Coal Association welcomed the IEA’s findings: “The IEA is right to highlight the importance of CCS in meeting the climate challenge. By 2050, CCS is set to contribute 17% of total emissions reductions required to keep global temperatures below 2°C. Without CCS, action to address climate change will be 40% more expensive. The IEA has shown that CCS is a critical part of the climate solution.”