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Carbon capture and storage has great potential in industrial applications

CCS is a cost-effective option for reducing CO2 emissions, IEA and UNIDO say in joint report.

20 September 2011

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A new technology roadmap on Carbon Capture and Storage in Industrial Applications, released today in Beijing, shows that carbon capture and storage (CCS) has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from industrial applications by 4 gigatonnes in 2050. Such an amount is equal to roughly one-tenth of the total emission cuts needed from the energy sector by the middle of the century. This requires a rapid deployment of CCS technologies in various industrial sectors, and across both OECD and non-OECD countries. The roadmap, a joint report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), says that over 1800 industrial-scale projects are required over the next 40 years.

CCS is a family of technologies and techniques that enable the capture of CO2 from fuel combustion or from industrial processes, the transport of CO2 via ships or pipelines, and its storage underground, in depleted oil and gas fields and deep geological formations. The IEA estimates that CCS will play an important role as part of a cost-effective portfolio of solutions to combat climate change.

While attention often focuses on CCS in electricity production, promising short-term potential lies in industrial applications such as in gas processing, as the CO2 will have to be separated in any case to allow the gas to be sold in the markets. In the long term, about half of global economic potential for CCS by 2050 will be in industrial applications.

“Nearly one-third of global energy and one-quarter of worldwide carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are attributable to total industry and fuel transformation sector. If climate change is to be successfully tackled, these sectors will need to transform the way they use energy and significantly reduce their CO2 emissions. CCS can be a key cost-effective option for reducing CO2 emissions in industry,” said Bo Diczfalusy, Director of Sustainable Energy technology and Policy at the IEA.

The total investment cost of the needed 1800 installations could amount to nearly USD 900 billion. While this is a large sum of money, it only represents 2% of the total investment needed to halve global energy-related CO2 emissions by 2050, a level deemed necessary to combat climate change. Of this total, some USD 670 billion will be needed in the industrial sectors in developing countries, representing a significant challenge for financing. “While the developed world must pave the way for carbon capture and storage deployment efforts in the next decade, the technology must also spread rapidly in the developing world. The growth needed will require expanded international collaboration, supporting policies and financing for CCS demonstration in developing countries”, said Edward Clarence-Smith, UNIDO Representative and Director of the regional office in China.

The Technology Roadmap: Carbon Capture and Storage in Industrial Applications focuses on five main industrial applications: high-purity CO2 sources, biomass conversion, cement, iron and steel and refineries. Implementing CCS in Technology Roadmap: Carbon Capture and Storage in Industrial Applications industrial sectors still has many barriers, which need to be overcome. Specific technology gaps need to be bridged, incentive policy frameworks need to be tailored to each sector according to technology maturity, with special emphasis on making sufficient capital available in developing countries, capacity building and education programmes need to be developed and international collaboration expanded and strengthened.

The roadmap was drawn up jointly by the IEA and UNIDO, with the help of the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Global CCS Institute.

See all Energy Technology Roadmaps.

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