Carbon Capture Could Help Bridge Climate Gap

Up to 28 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be captured by existing operational carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects this year, according to a new report launched today by the Global CCS Institute.

Now in its sixth year, the Global Status of CCS 2015 profiles two large-scale CCS projects: the Canadian Quest project and the Uthmaniyah CO2-EOR Demonstration Project in Saudi Arabia. Uthmaniyah is the first large-scale CCS project in the Middle East.

At the launch of this year's report, the number of operational projects stands at 15, with another seven projects in various stages of construction and due to come online in the next 18 months.

CCS may have an important role to play as part of the overall technology mix required to meet the internationally agreed goal of limiting the impact of global warming to two degrees, the report says.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report, released in November 2014, highlights the importance of CCS as a vital climate mitigation technology. Without CCS, the cost to avoid a global warming of more than 2 degree Celsius would likely increase by 138 per cent -- more than double. This could have dire implications for businesses and governments across the world as they try to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

CCS is not just about power generation emissions, and is the only technology that can achieve large reductions in emissions from industrial processes such as manufacturing iron and steel, chemicals and cement, the report says. The industrial sector as a whole accounts for around 25 per cent of the world's emissions.

However, the 28 million tons expected to be captures this year by CCS is barely a drop in the bucket of overall carbon emissions — some 9.9 billion metric tonnes (GtC) were emitted in 2013 alone, according to

CCS works by trapping the carbon dioxide at its emission source, transporting it to a storage location — often deep underground — and isolating it. But most CCS techniques developed to date are uneconomic because they consume too much energy to sequester the carbon.

A startup called Global Thermostat (GT) claims it has developed the first cost-effective CCS technology, which uses low-cost leftover process heat to grab carbon pollution from power plants that can then be sold back to other companies as a power source.

Carbon dioxide has become a business liability — decreasing a firm’s value by $212,000 for every 1,000 metric tons produced, according to a 2013 KPMG report. To address this, London-based Carbon Analytics (CA) is developing an online platform that makes it quick and easy for companies to measure and manage the carbon footprint of their supply chains — where 75 percent of a typical organization's carbon footprint comes from. The platform uses a three-stage process to apply its environmental models to derive meaningful, actionable insight from purchasing data.


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