Carbon capture technology not on track to reduce CO2 emissions

Source: DownToEarth

News: According to a report by the International Energy Agency(IEA), progress on carbon capture and storage(CCS) technology from 2010-2020 was not on track to effectively control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieve net zero emissions to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.


What is CCUS? CCUS technology is designed to capture CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels. It can absorb 85-95% of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

What is the process?

  • The process starts with the capture of generated CO2 which undergoes a compression process to form a dense fluid. This eases the transport and storage of the captured CO2.
  • The dense fluid is transported via pipelines and then injected into an underground storage facility.Captured CO2 can also be used as a raw material in other industrial processes such as bicarbonates.

Why is CCS crucial?

  • IPCC Report: The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming presents four scenarios for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius: All require CO2 removal and three involve major use of CCS.
  • Transition to Net-Zero Emissions: The cement, iron and steel and chemical sectors emit carbon due to the nature of their industrial processes and high-temperature requirements. They are among the hardest to decarbonise.CCS can facilitate a just transition by allowing industries to make sustained contributions to local economies while moving toward net-zero.
  • Production of Low Carbon Hydrogen: Enabling the production of low-carbon hydrogen at scale coal or natural gas with CCS is the cheapest way to produce low-carbon hydrogen.

Global progress on CCS

  • Absent from INDCs: CCS is absent from intended nationally determined contributions(INDCs) of most countries.Thus, it is clear that national policies have not accepted CCS as a promising technology.
  • Less CCUS Facilities: As of 2020, there were only 26 operational CCS facilities capturing around 36-40 million tonnes of carbon per year as cost on storage and transportation is one of the major bottlenecks for implementation of CCS.

Indian Government Initiative:

  • National Programme on CO2 Research:India’s Department of Science and Technology has established a national programme on CO2 storage research.
  • ACT Initiative: In August 2020, India made a call for proposals to support CCS research, development, pilot and demonstration projects.This is part of the accelerating CCS technologies(ACT) initiative.
    • ACT is an international initiative of 16 countries to facilitate the emergence of CCUS via transnational funding of projects aimed at accelerating and maturing CCUS technology through targeted innovation and research activities.
  • Industry Charter: In September 2020, an ‘Industry Charter’ for near zero emissions by 2050 was agreed to by six Indian companies that will explore different decarbonisation measures including carbon sequestration.
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