Carbon capture and storage is a process whereby CO2 produced by the combustion of fossil fuels and industrial processes is captured and transported offshore for safe and permanent storage in depleted oil and gas fields. It is also possible to use captured CO2 to produce materials such as building aggregates that also permanently store the CO2.
By using CCUS, energy can be generated and other products such as chemicals, plastics, cement and steel produced using fossil fuels with minimum greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere.
Bioenergy with carbon capture goes further as energy is produced while greenhouse gases are removed from the atmosphere.
The Scottish Government has brought forward legislation which commits us to 90% greenhouse gas emissions reduction (over the level in 1990) by 2050. CCUS has a fundamental role to play in achieving this goal enabling us to deliver our fair share of global greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Chemical Sciences Scotland has been doing its bit to save the planet by participating in an independent UK industry taskforce to determine how best to progress carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) in order to enable the UK to deploy CCUS at scale during the 2030’s. This means finding pathways to bring down costs sufficiently and, crucially, getting demonstrator trials underway in the early 2020’s. Developing new technologies and employing innovative business models together with a radical approach to regulation are critical success factors.
The taskforce report has now been issued, which can be found here .
The report recommends a number of key actions and messages, including:
- A minimum of two CCUS clusters (incorporating capture plants and CO2 stores) operational from the mid-2020s.
- The development of CCUS clusters delivers value across the UK economy by enabling low-carbon industries and electricity as well as unlocking other benefits such as decarbonised hydrogen for heating, greenhouse gas removal and carbon dioxide utilisation.
- The development of a new business model for CO2 transport and storage, separate from that which is used for the capture plant.
The UK Government has committed to publishing a CCUS Deployment Pathway by the end of 2018. The next five – six months therefore represent a crucial period for CCUS.