27 July 2016

New report calls for increased funding into CCS deployment

CCS Forum

Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) deployment must be progressed as an urgent priority if the world is to achieve the global warming limits identified in the Paris Agreement, a new report says. Launched today by the CCS Forum, the report urges policy-makers and governments to avoid focusing on the near-term targets at the detriment of long-term goals.

Written by the CCS Forum, a group of experts from academia, industry, and government supported by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Energy Centre, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Imperial College London, the report was developed following a three day CCS Forum conference, held at the Royal Academy of Engineering in February 2016.

Focusing on the Paris Agreement, in which the world agreed to limit global warming to 2oC, the report identifies that 120-160 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) will have to be stored until 2050. Positively, research findings from the CCS Forum experts show that the reservoirs to do this are available through oil and gas reservoirs, unminable coal seams and deep saline aquifers.

However, the report places significant importance on the need for funding and urgency if CCS is to help to tackle climate change. It also identifies ten priorities for CCS including focusing on £/MWh to measure impact, developing a whole systems approach to energy and infrastructure, and carefully evaluating the role of electricity markets.

The report comes after significant cuts to CCS were made by the UK government at the end of last year, including scrapping a ring-fenced budget of £1 billion. Today’s report calls on policy-makers to concentrate on long-term goals, and not let targets be missed by focusing on short-term wins.

The CCS Forum Report was launched in London, UK at IChemE’s offices on Wednesday 27 July, hosted by IChemE’s Energy Centre Chair and Dean of the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences at Brunel University London, Professor Stefaan Simons. The report was presented by its led-author Dr Niall Mac Dowell, also from IChemE’s Energy Centre and Imperial College London, followed by a discussion with a panel of experts, an invited audience and online participants.

Professor Simons said: "The COP21 target of limiting the average global temperature rise to 1.5oC means that the decarbonisation of industrial emissions, from whatever process, must be significantly accelerated. We no longer have the luxury of prevarication. CCS offers an opportunity to decouple the use of fossil fuels from climate change. The CCS Forum report is an important step in the future prospects for CCS, as, for the first time, it suggests radical ways in which we can rethink the economic and technological development of the process, making it more attractive to investors and government decision-makers alike. Without such changes in perspective, we will not get past the barriers to deployment and, more importantly, we risk not meeting our carbon reduction goals in time to mitigate disastrous climate change."

Dr Mac Dowell stated that: "The ambitious targets set by COP21 in Paris are only feasible with the large scale deployment of CCS technology. Our report represents the views of leading CCS experts from around the world; including power and industry, capture, utilisation, transport and storage, and identifies the key research and development needs for this area for the coming decade. I hope this will provide a meaningful contribution to CCS cost reduction and help remove the final barriers to the deployment of this vital technology."

Also in attendance was The Carbon Capture & Storage Association’s Policy Manager, Theo Mitchell, who said: “We welcome this report as a timely contribution to the ongoing discussions around the future of CCS. The UK Government has recently reiterated its intention to develop a new approach to CCS and we’re looking forward to working with the Institute for Chemical Engineers and the wider academic community to help shape the future research and innovation agenda for this vital technology.”

The Energy Research Partnership’s Andy Boston, who took part in the report launch panel discussion said: “Decarbonising the power system requires generation technologies that are not just low carbon, but are also dependable and flexible. CCS stands head and shoulders above other technologies in providing all that is required to keep the lights on whilst providing a pathway to large scale industrial decarbonisation. Maintaining its profile through events like this is incredibly important in helping to focus attention on its remaining innovation priorities."

John Gale, General Manager at Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme said: “CCS is a critical technology that will allow the use of fossil fuels whilst still aiming to meet the Paris agreement target of below 2 degrees C. Reports such as this that draw attention and highlight the future role that CCS can play are important references for government, academia and industry stakeholders.”

Guido Magneschi, Senior Advisor, The Global CCS Institute, who also took part in the panel, said: "This report is an excellent summary of future R&D challenges & opportunities in Carbon Capture and Storage."

Also in attendance was Rupert Wilmouth, Head of Energy, Government Office for Science, and Wilfreid Maas, General Manager CCS Technology, Shell.

The full report is available on the IChemE website. Those wishing to watch the report launch will find the webinar recording on IChemE’s YouTube channel.

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