CCS could have important role post-2050, says new report

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) could play an important role in the energy mix in the second half of the century, according to a new report from the Sustainable Gas Institute at Imperial College, London.

In its new white paper, Can technology unlock ‘unburnable carbon’?, the institute said that previous studies have shown CCS has a limited impact on the amount of fossil fuel resources that can be used in a 2⁰C climate scenario, but that these studies only looked up to 2050. nt its analysis, the institute found that 15,000 exajoules (EJ) more cumulative fossil fuel could be used by the end of the century if CCS were more widely available.
Dr Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA), commented: “What is interesting about this White Paper is that the analysis looks further into the future than most and shows that the benefits of CCS become much more prominent as we move into the second half of the century.

Warren urged governments to think past 2030: “This also demonstrates the vital importance of clear long-term policies that encourage investment in CCS. Across Europe, there is a focus on 2030 policies, however from a business perspective – this might as well be tomorrow. In particular, there are long lead times associated with the development of CCS transport and storage infrastructure, and this requires a much more strategic approach than is currently taking place.”

The report also found:

  •  The CO2 capture rate is crucial in determining the extent of future use of fossil fuels.  If over 90% of the CO2 was safely captured and stored, more of the world’s fossil fuel reserves could be used while still remaining within the limits of a 2°C climate change scenario. 
  • While in the short-term, the cost of deploying CCS is a barrier, over time the cost of emitting CO2 becomes far higher than the costs associated with CCS.
  • The global CO2 storage capacity is substantial.

Read the full report: Can technology unlock ‘unburnable carbon’?

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