Reducing CO2 emissions with carbon capture, utilisation and storage
Studies have shown that Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) will be required to meet the carbon emission reduction targets and the global warming mitigation aspirations of the Paris Agreement.
Nils Christian Holm
Global Spearhead Director, Energy from WasteT: +45 5161 8648
Head of Department, Power generation UKT: +44 7436 833 375
CCUS technologies also provide the foundation for carbon removal or "negative emissions" when the CO2 comes from bio-based processes or directly from the atmosphere.
In Ramboll we foresee that over the coming years CCS will contribute with significant reductions in CO2 emissions within power, industry and waste management. Efficient and safe CCS is also a precondition for the production of “blue” hydrogen – i.e. hydrogen produced from natural gas but where the CO2 generated by the production process is captured and stored.
Decarbonisation of many sectors will initially be driven by electrification. However, sectors such as aviation, passenger shipping and heavy road transport are difficult to electrify. For some of these sectors, “green” hydrogen produced from renewable power may contribute to the transition either directly or by synthesis of hydrogen and CO2 to produce new fuels. Carbon will also continue to be required for the production of a range of chemicals and materials. To cover these needs, CO2 captured from concentrated point sources may in the future represent a value and an opportunity.
”CCS/CCU is not a “license” to reduce our other efforts to decarbonise the world. However it is foreseen to contribute in an important way to reaching the aspirations of the Paris Agreement ”
– Nils Christian Holm, Director of Energy Generation at Ramboll.
Carbon capture technologies and safe underground storage of CO2 are already being applied in several countries. Studies show that there is abundant practical storage capacity worldwide.
When carbon is captured from processes based on sustainable biogenic sources, CCS will even create negative carbon emissions. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that most studies of pathways to the year 2100 which fulfil the Paris Agreement will require such negative emissions.
Some countries have started planning this journey in earnest. In Denmark, for example, Parliament has passed a law requiring the country to become carbon neutral by 2050 and to reduce CO2 emissions by 70% by 2030. The precise plans for how to reach this ambitious target are currently being developed, but it is already now clear that CCS and CCU will be important elements of the transition.
Following the 2019 amendment of the 2008 Climate Change Act, the UK Government has committed to a 2050 ‘Net Zero’ CO2 emissions target. By applying clear and decisive policy, regulation and cross-sector action, current projections indicate a ‘zero carbon’ electricity sector coupled with a ‘carbon negative’ power generation sector is required, with the deployment of CCS – in particular bio-energy CCS (BECCS) to deliver ‘negative emissions’ – playing an essential role. With the right policy framework for the strong uptake of CCS in the UK, the market could be worth £6.5bn/ year to the UK economy by the end of the 2020s and support more than 100,000 quality jobs (ref: DECC CCS Roadmap).
In the US, there are 10 large-scale CCS facilities capturing more than 25 mtpa of CO2, with over two dozen more facilities set to be announced once 45Q tax credit guidance and rules are finalised. Aside from CCS facilities, the US Department of Energy is also spearheading an effort to identify and develop geologic storage for 50 million tonnes of CO2 through its Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise Initiative, known as CarbonSAFE. There continues to be a substantial effort within industrial clusters to gain scale and corresponding economic benefits.
In several countries across Europe there is significant focus on CCS in the waste-to-energy sector to not only become carbon neutral but even to contribute to the transition with negative emissions. As an example, the Danish Waste Association has drawn up a strategy for how to make the Danish waste-to-energy sector carbon neutral by 2030 and for the sector to produce negative emissions beyond that.
”CCS and CCU may eventually lead to some sectors not only eliminating their own CO2 emissions, but also contributing to negative emissions.” – Nils Christian Holm, Director of Energy Generation at Ramboll.
CCS and CCU are young industries which are subject to both significant “learning effects” and “economies of scale”. This means that growth and size of the industry are important for the cost of the transition. Hence, governments and relevant industries should lead the way by setting ambitious targets.
In Ramboll we share the ambition of both those who emit CO2, those who could potentially store it, those who can deliver renewable energy to convert the carbon to usable products or sustainable fuels and those who are potential off takers of these fuels. We actively engage in this transition by supporting our clients on a range of carbon capture projects in different industries. Click on the items below to learn more about our carbon capture projects.
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With CCUS the waste-to-energy industry has the potential to become carbon neutral and even contribute with negative emissions. There is growing interest in this, and Ramboll is currently supporting several waste-to-energy plants in Europe in assessing the feasibility of CCS. Also for the Danish Waste Association Ramboll is assessing the cost of CCS for the sector. At the new Amager Bakke plant in Copenhagen, we are a partner in the establishment of a large-scale carbon capture pilot plant aiming to showcase the possibility to achieve 100% energy efficiency. Ramboll was also involved in the world’s first full-scale waste-to-energy carbon capture plant in Duiven, the Netherlands.