Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, is a family of technologies and techniques that enable the capture of CO₂ from fuel combustion or industrial processes, the transport of CO₂ via ships or pipelines, and its storage underground, in depleted oil and gas fields and deep saline formations. CCS can, therefore, have a unique and vital role to play in the global transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy, in both power generation and industry.
Current short, mid- and long-term projections for global energy demand still point to fossil fuels being combusted in quantities incompatible with levels required to stabilise greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations at safe levels in the atmosphere.
All technologies along the CCS chain have been in operation in various industries for decades, although in relatively small scale. These technologies have only been put together in industrial scale (>1Mt CO₂ captured and stored per year) in a small number of installations. No large-scale installations exist yet in electricity production.
IEA analysis suggests that CCS will play a vital role in worldwide, least-cost efforts to limit global warming, contributing around one-fifth of required emissions reductions in 2050. For CCS to reach this potential, around 100 CCS projects would need to be implemented by 2020 and over 3000 by 2050.
The IEA has worked on CCS-related issues for over ten years, and employs a team of specialists analysing various aspects of CCS technology and policy. The Agency’s CCS work is divided into the following areas: