What is CO2 Capture & Storage?
CO2 capture and storage or CO2 sequestration (often known by its acronym CCS) - is the term used to describe a set of technologies aimed at capturing carbon dioxide emitted from industrial and energy-related sources before it enters the atmosphere, compressing it, and injecting it deep underground in secure geological formations, and ensuring it remains stored there indefinitely.
Why is CCS important?
The key driving force behind undertaking CCS is the need to find cost-effective solutions to tackle the global issue of climate change by reducing CO2 emissions in a world where there is a continued and rising demand for energy.
The most recent report from the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global CO2 emissions must be cut by 50-80% by 2050, if we want to avoid the most damaging effects of climate change. Various projections make clear that fossil fuels will continue to be needed and renewables will not be sufficient in the short-to-medium term to replace them.
CCS has an important role to play as a bridge to a low-carbon energy future. However, there are a variety of challenges to face -including technical, regulatory, and economic - all of which the CO2 Capture Project (CCP) is aiming to tackle. The biggest challenge is how to best demonstrate that CCS is safe, effective and can be done now at industrial scale at a competitive cost. Large scale pilot and demonstration projects will play an important role in showing that the integrated process can work, from capture through to storage. These demonstrations and accompanying research and technology development require substantial investment but will ultimately drive down costs while helping identify the most appropriate technologies, equipment and skills needed to use them.
In addition to the technical and cost challenges, a regulatory framework is also needed for CCS to clarify, both at national and international levels, the long-term rights, liabilities and technical requirements as to how CCS will be undertaken.
The investments required to undertake CCS projects are large, long-term and international. A clear policy direction is therefore also needed to give investors and innovators a clear signal that this is an area offering returns and to put a price on carbon emissions (such as through the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme) that will make CCS more competitive. Further policy mechanisms such as those that support the uptake of renewables - including grants and subsidies - do not yet support the development of CCS, but are also essential. The CCP is dedicated to help overcome these challenges in order to make CCS the successful mainstream technology that it needs to be.