Australian report finds CCS growth impressive
The Global CCS Institute, an Australian think tank, issued a report October 12 that said the unprecedented growth in carbon capture and storage (CCS) development, although significant, is far short of what is needed to limit climate change.
“The CCS project pipeline is growing more robustly than ever,” the Melbourne-based institute said in its report.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that at least five gigatonnes of CO2 need to be pulled from the atmosphere every year to keep global warming under control. But despite the rapid progress, the institute’s report said CCS development is still short of what is necessary.
“Despite unprecedented growth in the CCS project pipeline for the last 12 months, there remains a massive gap between today’s CCS fleet and what is required to reduce global anthropogenic emissions to net zero,” the report said. Achieving aspirations to limit global warming to 2°C, the institute said, would require installed CCS capacity to increase from around 40mn mt/year this year to more than 5,600mn mt/yr by 2050.”
That, the institute estimated, would require as much as $1.3 trillion in capital investments. While “daunting,” the institute put private sector investments in the energy sector at $1.85 trillion in 2018.
The opportunities are there, the report suggested, so the only thing missing “is a business case.”
Major economies, however, are making steady advances in CCS. Geological mapping from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), for example, shows there is the capacity to store as much as 80bn mt of CO2 in the Norwegian continental shelf, a figure the government estimates is the equivalent of 1,000 years of total Norwegian emissions.
Brad Page, the chairman of the institute, said recent developments are only a fraction of what would be necessary to keep climate change in check.
“As impressive as the past year’s progress with accelerating the CCS project pipeline is, the stark reality is that enormously more CCS facilities are required – at least a 100-fold increase over the 27 in operation today – by 2050,” he said. “Without this, the world is extremely unlikely to achieve the key targets in the Paris [climate] agreement with the well documented serious consequences of such an outcome.”