Global CCS Institute says carbon capture work not moving fast enough

SEOUL, South Korea (October 10, 2013) – North America is a leader in the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), with seven of the world’s 12 operational large–scale integrated projects located in the United States (U.S.) and one in Canada, according to The Global Status of CCS: 2013 report.

The 12 CCS/CCUS projects are preventing 25 million tonnes a year (Mtpa) of greenhouse gases from reaching the atmosphere. A further eight projects under construction will increase the total to 38 Mtpa by 2016. In the U.S., this is equivalent to taking up to eight million cars off the road.

Releasing the report at its annual international Members’ meeting in Seoul, South Korea, Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page today called for a renewed focus on the significance of CCS/CCUS in the portfolio of low–carbon technologies required to deal with human–caused climate change.

“Urgent action is required to limit, alleviate and, where possible, reverse the damaging effects of the rise in temperature of our planet,” Page said. “Crucially, this means employing, without favor, appropriate climate change mitigation technologies – and this includes CCUS.”

Notwithstanding recent strong progress, with four additional projects becoming operational since 2012 – an increase of 50 per cent in one year – Page said momentum was too slow if CCUS was to play its full part in tackling climate change at lowest cost.

“Seventy per cent of project proponents agree that policy uncertainty is a major risk to their CCS/CCUS project. Indeed, ongoing uncertainty about the timing, nature, extent and durability of emissions reduction policies, as well as a lack of sufficient incentives and funding support for more CCS projects, are limiting investment in the technology and stalling its development and deployment. This must be addressed.”

Page said this was evidenced by slow project progression, almost no new projects outside China, and a strong development bias toward projects with additional revenue opportunities, such as using carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery (CO2–EOR), which acts as an enabler for CCS technology, especially where national carbon legislation is either lacking or absent.

“Government involvement provides greater certainty to equity investors and lenders while allowing the governments access to the knowledge generated, thereby driving cost reductions for the next generation of projects,” Page said.

“Although CO2–EOR in North America represents opportunities for enabling CCS, what is needed globally is technology neutral policies that provide sufficient incentives for projects to develop robust long-term business cases and attract the private funding needed to create market conditions conducive to broadbased CCUS deployment.

“We know that fossil fuels will continue to be the world’s primary source of energy, so if we are to meet emissions reduction goals, it is clear that CCUS will be required,” he said. “Therefore, more projects are needed, especially in the power sector and in energy–intensive industries, where none currently exists.

“For example, we need to build upon and share the experience to be gained from the world’s first two coal–fired power plants with CCS – Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan, Canada and the Kemper County Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) Project in Mississippi. Both are expected to be operational in 2014 and will deliver carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery.

“The more favorable economics associated with the revenue stream generated from the sale of CO2, coupled with substantial financial support from government, have enabled the development of these two projects and will provide a basis to develop best practices, reduce cost and identify – and avoid – potential problems so future plants can be built better, faster and at less cost.

“Moreover, the International Energy Agency has determined that to achieve the 2°C scenario in the absence of CCS, utilization of available fossil fuel reserves will need to be more limited, otherwise the budget for energy–related carbon emissions will be reached earlier.”

Since the release of the Institute’s 2012 report, the number of large–scale integrated CCS projects around the world has reduced from 75 to 65; five have been cancelled, one downscaled and seven put on hold; and three new projects identified – one each in Brazil, China and Saudi Arabia. China is emerging as a fast mover, with 12 projects, ranking second to the U.S., which has 20.

The annual global status of CCS report provides a comprehensive overview of CCS/CCUS policy, legal and regulatory developments; technologies and large–scale demonstration projects; authoritative analysis; insights; and recommendations for accelerating the technology. It is available to download from globalccsinstitute.com.

About the Global CCS Institute

The Global CCS Institute accelerates carbon capture and storage, a vital technology to tackle climate change and provide energy security. We advocate for CCS as a crucial component in a portfolio of technologies required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We drive the adoption of CCS as quickly and cost effectively as possible by sharing expertise, building capacity and providing advice and support to overcome challenges. Our diverse international Membership of 373 comprises governments, global corporations, small companies, research bodies and non-government organisations committed to CCS as an integral part of a low–carbon future. For more information, visit globalccsinstitute.com.