For the time being, it is commented that CCS is the only technology that can help reduce emissions from large industrial installations and according to the London School of Economics it could be an essential technology for tackling global climate change.
In the meantime, the Global CCS Institute estimates that 2500 CCS facilities would need to be in operation by 2040 worldwide, each capturing around 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year to achieve targets set by the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
John McCurry notes that in LR they've already seen the potential of CCS for more than 15 years, across over 80 programmes in the UK, Europe and globally. Thus, in a recent study they launched for the oil and gas authority, they explored the technical solutions for reducing GHG emissions including the well-established technology of CCS. The study focused on the compression, transportation and storage, rather than the CO2 capture and revealed that CCS is crucial in enhancing the economics of a number of UK power projects and presents a highly attractive option for storage within saline aquifers, potentially for hundreds of years.
LR argues that if CCS is to expand, the industry should ensure that existing wells will be securely sealed.
Selected storage sites can make use of sophisticated multiple-trap designs for robust, long-term integrity and even where saline aquifers are chosen, monitoring, measurement and verification will need to meet the most stringent standards – standards that Lloyds’s Register is helping to define and audit.
Moreover, CCS is faces more barriers than just its cost. It is an additional expense for a power station or industrial plant wishing to do the right thing for the environment.
While UK operators work towards a net-zero carbon emissions pledge by 2050, the world should consider a universal carbon pricing mechanism, which will be vital if CCS is to progress at the pace required in the UK and internationally to make a difference. It is change needed sooner, rather than later.
LR proposes that, although there are many early projects and there is sufficient capacity to store gigatons of CO2 on the UK Continental Shelf, CCS will be fruitful in achieving the UK’s net-zero target by starting small.
Initial projects that pin success on minimal viable development look most promising.