Global Status of CCS 2021

Oct 12 2021

The Global CCS Institute's flagship report finds that the CCS project pipeline is growing more robustly than ever but deployment needs to be rapidly accelerated further.

"This year’s Global Status of CCS Report reveals that just as the acceleration in climate action commitment is unprecedented, so too is the growth in the CCS facility and project catalogue," said Brad Page, Former CEO, Global CCS Institute, in the introduction to the report.

From 73 million tonnes a year (Mtpa) at the end of 2020, the capacity of projects in development grew to 111 Mtpa in September 2021 – a 48 per cent increase.

"In all the years that the Institute has been recording and publishing the data on CCS facilities and projects, never before has such a big single year increase in the project pipeline been recorded," he said. "This is the natural outworking of the commitments being made to address emissions and achieve NZE. It confirms the findings of modelling undertaken by a variety of different, independent agencies: CCS is a necessary element of the technology suite that must be deployed if the world is to achieve the Paris Objectives."

"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. Without this, the world is extremely unlikely to achieve the key targets in the Paris Agreement with the well documented serious consequences of such an outcome."

"Increasingly the focus for the application of CCS is in the industrial or ‘difficult to decarbonise’ sectors. For the most part CCS is the ‘go-to’ solution where electrification is not a viable solution, often when high heat or chemical reactions dependent on the presence of carbon are required. In other instances, CCS has very low cost and demonstrated mature technology strongly in its favour. And because these heavy industries often congregate together, CO2 networks have quickly become a significant element in CCS deployment."

"While we reported similarly in 2020, this year has seen significant strides taken in progressing many of these CCS network projects and new ones, like the Houston Ship Channel project, being announced. The world continues to employ fossil fuel-based electricity generation plants at enormous scale. While in some countries these are declining, in other parts of the world coal and gas fired power plants remain a central, and in some cases growing, part of electricity systems."

"While power generation did not feature significantly in our reports for some years, this changed in 2020 and further new projects have been announced that are included in this report. This is good news as there will be a large and increasingly urgent need to address power sector emissions in, for example, much of Asia where early retirement of relatively young coal and gas plants is unlikely. Technology deployment in developed nations will make for lower cost application elsewhere."

"We know based on reputable analysis, including from the IPCC, that carbon dioxide removal will be required to meet the Paris targets. We also know that nature-based solutions alone will not be enough. Bioenergy with CCS – BECCS – has long been understood to be an important element of this. It is also increasingly apparent that direct air capture will need to play a significant role."

"Pleasingly, the development and deployment of direct air capture of CO2 is gaining momentum, albeit off a small base. Significant capital investment in nascent direct air capture developers is being seen and substantial new projects are being progressed. The decreasing cost curve for direct air capture is notable and important."

"As I sign off from my final edition of the Global Status of CCS Report, I am hugely encouraged that CCS is now on a strong growth trajectory after enduring some very difficult years. Over the past decade I have seen CCS move from being falsely identified only as a coal fired power generation technology to being increasingly embraced as a vital element of meeting the climate challenge due to its versatility of application, demonstrated effectiveness and ability to deal with enormous volumes of emissions."

"Recently, its role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere has added yet another string to its bow. Time is not on anyone’s side. We must press on with vigour in rapidly accelerating still further the deployment of CCS."

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Issue 82 - July - Aug 2021

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