Tracking Progress: Carbon capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage

The global portfolio of large-scale CCS projects continues to expand. The first steel plant CCS project began operations in 2016 and the largest coal-fired CCS power plant started up in January 2017. Nevertheless, capture and storage capacity would need to expand tenfold to be on track to meet the 2DS in 2025. A renewed emphasis on CCS in long-term climate strategies and targeted support for project deployment are vital.

Recent trends

In 2016, the Sleipner CCS project in Norway marked 20 years of successful operation, having stored almost 17 MtCO2 in a saline aquifer deep under the North Sea. The world’s first large-scale CCS project in the iron and steel industry also commenced operation in 2016 in Abu Dhabi, capturing up to 800 000 tonnes of CO2 annually. At the beginning of 2017, the Texas Petra Nova project also came into operation as the largest post-combustion carbon capture system installed on an existing power plant, capturing up to 1.4 MtCO2 annually. The Illinois Industrial CCS Project is the world’s first CCS project linked with bioenergy. The Tomakomai project in Japan also began CO2 injection in April 2016. While not large-scale (it will capture 100 000 tonnes of CO2 per year), the project will demonstrate the feasibility of CO2 storage in formations under the seabed in Japan.

Two further projects are expected to come on line in 2017, bringing the number of large-scale CCS projects operating globally to 19. The Norwegian government announced it has included a grant of 360 million Norwegian kroner (NOK) (USD 45 million) in its 2017 budget for the continued planning of further full-scale demonstration facilities. The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) has also announced its intention to invest up to USD 1 billion for CO2 and methane reduction technologies and projects over the next ten years.

Tracking progress

CCS is not on a trajectory to meet the 2DS target of over 400 MtCO2 being stored per year in 2025. The 17 operational large-scale projects have a total potential capture rate of over 30 MtCO2 per year. The capture and storage rate would need to increase tenfold in order to be on track to meet the 2DS in 2025. Furthermore, the 2DS annual target for CO2 captured and stored from bioenergy projects leading to negative emissions is nearly 60 million tonnes (Mt) in 2025. A constant flow of projects through development to operation is crucial to meeting the targets under the 2DS and for maintaining and growing the global technical capacity in CCS. 

While there is a surge in projects beginning operation over the 2016-17 timeframe, no CCS project took a positive investment decision or began advanced planning in 2016, causing concern that global progress will stall. Moreover, the number of projects under development has shrunk over the past years. Currently 10 projects are in development, with 5 under construction and 5 in advanced planning, down from a total of 18 in 2015. 

Recommended actions

Governments should assess the value of CCS for their climate strategies. Early CCS deployment requires targeted financial and policy support to deliver deep emissions reductions. The current absence of adequate policy support is impeding progress with CCS, with implications for the achievement of long-term climate targets. Furthermore, an observed trend in decreasing CCS-related public RD&D investment over the last few years by IEA member countries should urgently be reversed.

Investment in geological CO2 storage is an urgent priority, and government leadership is essential. Co-ordinated and extensive CO2 storage assessment programmes are required to prove secure, practical and bankable CO2 storage areas and sites in all key regions. Given the long lead times involved in developing CO2 storage facilities, this effort must start now. Governments and industry should also ensure appropriate planning for and development of large-scale CO2 transport and storage infrastructure, across jurisdictions where applicable.

Creating the conditions for a separate CO2 transport and storage business could address challenges experienced with integrated projects and underpin investment in CO2 capture technology across power and industrial applications.


Published: 16 May 2017

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