Carbon capture, utilisation and storage

A critical tool in the climate energy toolbox

Carbon, capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) is one of the only technology solutions that can significantly reduce emissions from coal and gas power generation and deliver the deep emissions reductions needed across key industrial processes such as steel, cement and chemicals manufacturing, all of which will remain vital building blocks of modern society.


Policies & Investment


Despite growing recognition of the importance of CCUS technologies in achieving energy and climate goals, investment in CCUS has fallen well behind that of many other clean energy solutions. There are 18 large-scale CCUS facilities operating globally, providing important lessons and experience, but the pipeline for new investments remains limited.

New policy approaches are needed

In the past decade, significant amounts of public funding were set aside for CCUS projects yet most of this money was never spent. Of the USD 28 billion earmarked for capital and operational support around the world, only about 15% has been spent, of which just two-thirds went to projects that are now in operation.

	Announced government capex support	Spent by governments	Spent by private sector
2007	0.13031499	0	0
2008	2.098242722	0	0
2009	7.465602972	0.008666667	0.278666667
2010	1.544496957	0.008666667	0.278666667
2011	0	0.327697416	1.090761983
2012	1.285330523	0.354697416	1.1162117
2013	0	0.376247801	0.758072479
2014	0	0.667141269	1.114581522
2015	0	0.469196264	0.469196264
2016	0.119044359	0.228166592	0.469196264
2017	0	0.069503124	0.087237504
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CCUS investment has been concentrated in industry

Most CCUS investment to date has been associated with industrial processes that create relatively pure streams of CO2 in normal operation, such as natural gas processing, producing hydrogen from fossil fuels and manufacturing bioethanol. Capturing CO2 from these sources is mature and generally only requires the CO2 to be purified or dehydrated before it is compressed and transported, significantly reducing costs.

Of the 30 million tonnes  of CO2 capture capacity currently in operation around the world, around 90% comes from processes with highly-concentrated CO2 streams. An estimated 80% of this is in the oil and gas sector and 70% is in North America, where there is demand for CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.

	CO₂ capture
Power	8.199521695
Steel	2.733173898
Gas processing	65.83532627
Oil production	3.416467373
Ethanol production	3.416467373
Fertiliser production	2.733173898
Refinery	3.416467373
Synfuel production	10.24940212
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Lower-cost opportunities for CCUS are available

Lower-cost industrial CCUS opportunities could be expanded and contribute to significant emissions reductions. IEA analysis suggests that a commercial incentive as low as USD 40 per tonne of CO2 could trigger investment in the capture, utilisation and storage of up to 450 million tonnes of CO2 globally.

Policy support is critical 

As with other low emission technologies, securing investment in CCUS during the early phase of commercialisation will depend on policy support. A carbon price or CO2 tax can provide an important long-term investment signal, but boosting early investment will require complementary and targeted policy measures. A range of policy options including regulatory levers, market based frameworks and measures such as tax credits, grant funding, feed-in tariffs, public procurement, low-carbon product incentives and CCUS obligations and certificates could all play a role depending on national circumstances and preferences.

Many countries are supporting CCUS development and deployment around the word. This includes  the Unites States, which in 2018 introduced a significant stimulus for CCUS investment with the passage of legislation to expand and enhance the so-called 45Q tax credit. This will provide up to USD 50 per tonne of CO2 permanently stored and USD 35 per tonne of CO2 used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) or other industrial uses of CO2, provided emissions reductions can be clearly demonstrated. The IEA estimates that this could trigger new capital investment on the order of USD 1 billion over the next six years, potentially adding 10 to 30 million tonnes or more of additional CO2 capture capacity.

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