Global CCS development pipeline grows by 10 large-scale projects

THE total number of carbon-capture and storage projects currently in the development pipeline has risen by 10, according to think tank Global CCS Institute, bringing the total global number of projects either in operation or development to 59.
Global CCS development pipeline grows by 10 large-scale projects Global CCS development pipeline grows by 10 large-scale projects Global CCS development pipeline grows by 10 large-scale projects Global CCS development pipeline grows by 10 large-scale projects Global CCS development pipeline grows by 10 large-scale projects

Chevron has suggested the US$2 billion Gorgon CCS project will cut emissions by 100 million tonnes of CO2 over the lifespan of the facility.

Mark Tilly

Journalist

The Global CCS Institute said the 59 would have the carbon capture capacity of around 127 million tonnes of per annum; with 21 facilities in operation, three under construction and 35 in various stages of development. 

"Despite the current COVID-19 crisis we are observing a significant increase in CCS facilities in the pipeline which demonstrates continued progress towards meeting climate targets, and will also result in significant job creation and economic growth," Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page said. 

The Global CCS Institute found CCS deployment in line with the Paris Agreement and energy related Sustainable Development Goals would create some 100,000 in the industry globally by 2050. 

The Institute said it was thrilled to see the new facilities were aiming for economies of scale across a range of applications including for natural gas power, negative emissions and cement and offshore geological storage. 

Nine of the new facilities announced will be in the US, including the California Resources Corporation's CalCapture project  and Velocys and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures' Bayou Fuels Negative Emissions project. 

"This is an important time for CCS in the US," assistant secretary for fossil energy Steven Winberg said.  

"Policy incentives and research from Department of Energy projects are working together to help industry move forward towards the goal of net-zero carbon emissions." 

The tenth meanwhile is the Drax Bioenergy facility in the UK which aims to capture 4MMtpa at one of its existing biomass fired power units by 2027.  

The CO2 would be transported by pipeline and stored in the southern North Sea via dedicated geological storage. 

Page noted the average capture capacity of the new facilities is around 2.6MMtpa, a marked increase of the 2MMtpa of projects already in development. 

"Nonetheless, with 21 facilities operating today, we still need at least a 100-fold scale-up to reach climate goals," Page said.

While the UN's IPCC report does state CCS will have to be used to ensure global climate goals are met by 2050, academics and scientists have questioned the economic and commercial viability of projects, given their high costs and long development timelines, particularly given the plummeting costs of wind, solar and battery storage.

Less than three months ago, Paris agreement mastermind Christina Figueres noted there would need to be "thousands" of CCS projects operational in the next 30 years if they were to make a dent in global emissions.

"It's not doable," she said. 

Regardless, oil and gas majors are forging ahead with projects, with the CCS Institute noting the positive investment decision by Equinor, Shell and Total on the Northern Lights project. 

It also highlighted supportive policy momentum in Australia off the back of its CCS-focussed Technology Investment Roadmap and a US$131 million funding announcement from the US Department of Energy. 

Last week, the Western Australian state government's Environmental Protection Authority ordered Chevron's Gorgon LNG project's CO2 emissions to be backdated to its initial startup deadline of 2016, after its CCS element started two years late. 

Chevron has suggested the US$2 billion project will cut emissions by 40% or 100 million tonnes of CO2 over the lifespan of the facility.

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