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Climate Perspectives™ magazine | Why Net Zero Needs Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage

Climate Perspectives™ magazine | Why Net Zero Needs Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage

By Ruth Herbert, CEO, CCSA > Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) is an absolutely critical solution for delivering net zero emissions due to its ability to decarbonise multiple sectors across the economy. The Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget concludes that “CCUS is essential to achieving Net Zero, at lowest cost, in the UK” and that scenarios where CCUS is excluded or minimised are “likely to significantly increase cumulative emissions over the period to 2050.”

CCUS is recognised as the only technology that can significantly decarbonise industries such as iron & steel, fertilizer, cement and chemicals, enabling the production of clean products. By applying carbon capture to gas-fired power stations, CCUS also provides a source of flexible, low-carbon power generation which will make an important contribution to a resilient net zero electricity mix. CCUS represents one of the main routes for producing low-carbon hydrogen, which can be used to decarbonise domestic and industrial heating and transport. For those sectors that will be harder to decarbonise (such as aviation), CCUS also unlocks a key method of greenhouse gas removal through Bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) and Direct Air Capture with Storage (DACS), which will be critical to meeting climate goals.

The UK government has committed to supporting the deployment of two CCUS industrial clusters by mid-2020, (in the UK this is described as multiple carbon dioxide emitters located near CO2 offshore storage locations, using shared transportation infrastructure) and a further two clusters to be operational by 2030, with a target of capturing 20-30 Million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2030, as laid out in the Net Zero Strategy. This is more than double the Prime Minister’s 2020 ambition of capturing 10Mt per year by 2030 and much more in line with the CCC’s Sixth Carbon Budget advice of capturing and storing 22Mt of CO2 per year by 2030.

This level of deployment could generate more than eight to ten thousand jobs, while protecting thousands of jobs in the high emission sectors of iron and steel, cement, chemicals and refining, It will also reduce risks to the broader manufacturing sector, opening up additional export opportunities.  Therefore, the development of a UK CCUS industry presents us with economic benefits through the opportunity to deliver on the levelling up agenda in our industrial regions as a result of increased employment and will help to support markets for low carbon products.

The good news is we already have the skills and capability within the UK necessary for CCUS deployment, as many of the skills required are similar to those of the existing oil and gas sector. There is now an urgent need for the industry to respond to the new level of ambition within the Net Zero Strategy and to influence discussions within government to ensure the necessary roll-out of CCUS to meet climate goals.

The CCSA’s recently published CCUS Delivery Plan 2035 identifies the necessary build-out rates for CCUS in the UK to deliver the ambition of storing 50Mt CO2 per year by 2035, as set out in the Net Zero Strategy. The plan considers the key enabling actions that are required to facilitate this growth, whilst maximising benefits for the UK supply chain. The next five years is a crucial period for laying the foundations for the rapid scale up of CCUS deployment over the coming decade and meeting Net Zero.

NB – Don’t miss the CCSA live and free-to-attend webinar Delivering CCUS infrastructure for the net zero transition taking place on Thursday 28th April 2022 at 14:00 – 15:00 as part of Green Infrastructure Week.


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Climate Perspectives magazine issue Q1 2023. Read the magazine here.