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.


Power


CCUS can play an important role in decarbonising the power sector by promoting greater energy security, ensuring continued baseload power generation capability, and supporting diversity of fuels.

Today, two large-scale CCUS power generation projects are operating: the Boundary Dam project in Saskatchewan, Canada, which started in 2014 and has an annual capture capacity of 1.0 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2, and the Petra Nova Carbon Capture project in Texas, United States, with 1.4 Mt CO2 annual capacity, and which began in 2017. Both use post-combustion capture technology on coal plant retrofits.

	Coal with CCUS	Gas with CCUS	Share of CCUS (right axis)
2025	23.365086	6.2480469	0.102612836
2030	309.8377733	193.0437	1.613852153
2035	946.37386	549.53983	4.399612369
2040	1291.12718	904.1907	5.915101956
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These two projects, and seven large-scale projects in early development, have a potential capture capacity of around 13 Mtpa. This compares to around 350 Mt CO2 captured from power generation in 2030 in the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) in which CCUS features an important role in reducing emissions. In the SDS, 11.6 Gt CO2 are captured cumulatively in power generation to 2040. By 2040, 370 GW of electricity generation capacity is equipped with CCUS, generating 2 200 TWh or 6% of global power.

Coal

In the SDS, the vast majority of CO2 captured in the power sector comes from coal-fired power plants. They account for 9.5 Gt CO2 or almost 80% of total CO2 captured in the sector through 2040. In 2040, 210 GW of coal-fired capacity with CCUS is operational and generates 1 300 TWh or 3.5% of global power generation. Unabated coal generation is nearly phased-out in the SDS; coal plants without CCUS run at very low capacity factors and generate only about 700 TWh in 2040.

	Coal total	Coal with CCUS China	Coal with CCUS ROW
2017	9858.094128	0	0
2025	7193.026104	18.4806	4.884486
2030	4847.211127	251.742	58.09577331
2035	3050.192413	766.4195	179.95436
2040	1981.539287	944.56	346.56718
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The majority of CCUS coal projects are retrofits to existing plants (170 GW). Learnings from the two power retrofit plants in operation today indicate that substantive cost reductions are possible. CCUS thus has the potential to provide an important strategic hedge through retrofits for the existing coal fleet in a carbon constrained world. This is particularly relevant given the young age of the coal fleet in Asia, which averages less than 15 years. IEA analysis indicates that over 300 GW of the existing coal-fired power capacity in China alone meet a number of basic criteria for being suitable for CCUS retrofit.

This map is without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area.

Gas

Gas-fired power generation with CCUS is important in the SDS. It accounts for more than 2 Gt CO2 captured cumulatively to 2040. 160 GW of gas-fired power plants are equipped with CCUS in 2040 and provide around 900 TWh of global power generation; equivalent to one-sixth of total gas-fired power generation.

Bioenergy

Bioenergy in combination with CCUS (BECCS) in power generation, i.e. dedicated biomass plants or biomass co-firing in coal or gas plants, becomes important in ambitious climate scenarios due to its potential to create negative emissions. Negative emissions from BECCS arise due to the fact that biomass absorbs CO2 as it grows and when combusted for energy the CO2 is released back in to the atmosphere, creating a full cycle with a neutral impact on atmospheric volumes of CO2. When combined with the CO2 capture and storage process, a significant portion of the CO2 absorbed by the biomass is permanently removed from the atmosphere.

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