CCS technology has been under development since the 1990s, with more than 20 plants operating or under construction around the world, and at least 100 smaller-scale research projects under way. But CCS “remains a pre-commercial technology”, says Claire Perry, UK minister for energy and clean growth. But while there is widespread agreement among energy and environment experts that a new stimulus is needed to accelerate CCS to the commercial stage after a period in which the technology has lost momentum, there is less agreement about how this can be achieved. A report published in July 2018 by the UK government’s Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) task force recommended the development of at least two CCS clusters – regional groupings of facilities sharing infrastructure and knowledge – to begin operations in the mid-2020s. The government’s longer-term ambition is to “have the option to deploy CCUS at scale during the 2030s, subject to costs coming down sufficiently”. CCS is mentioned increasingly as a technology not only to capture CO2 from power stations and industrial plants burning fossil fuels – which can remove up to 90 per cent of emissions but still results in a net addition of carbon to the atmosphere – but also to facilitate what has become known as greenhouse gas removal (GGR). The aim of GGR is permanent removal of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. This can be done partly through simple low-tech methods, such as planting trees and restoring habitats such as wetlands, so that they absorb more CO2. But to make the required impact, GGR will have to employ CCS on a substantial scale. This month, the UK’s Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering issued a joint report on GGR. This showed how Britain could have a carbon-neutral economy during the second half of this century if strong curbs on fossil fuels were accompanied by widespread deployment of CCS.
FT 25th Sept 2018 read more »