The case for CCS

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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has been identified as a vital technology for climate mitigation. Many organisations, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the UK's Committee on Climate Change (CCC) agree that the targets for greenhouse gas emissions, set out in the Paris Agreement, cannot be met without CCS.

In 2019, the UK government announced its support for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology in both its Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy, recognising the key role CCS can play in decarbonising the UK economy.

 

CCS is the lowest cost route to a low carbon economy for the UK

The CCC states that CCS has the potential to more than halve the cost of meeting the UK’s 2050 carbon target. Reaching the target without CCS is much more expensive.

 

CCS is the only way to decarbonise certain industries

Industries such as steel, cement, refining chemicals, glass and ceramics all emit CO2 as part of a chemical process required in production. Currently, CCS is the only technology option that enables deep decarbonisation for these industries.

 

CCS could open up new markets for the UK

The UK has vast storage capacity available, opening up potential cross-border business opportunities.

 

CCS enables the creation of low-carbon hydrogen

Hydrogen is a gas that when used to generate energy, only produces water as a waste product. It can be used to power heavy vehicles and heat homes thus avoiding the need to fully electrify the UK’s energy grid which would cost up to three times as much as repurposing the existing natural gas system to hydrogen.

 

CCS helps secure and create jobs

CCS helps retain jobs in the regions that rely on heavy industry and creates fundamental infrastructure for regional low-carbon clusters, which are at the heart of Clean Growth Regeneration Zones

 

CCS is proven

CCS projects are already in operation, or in construction in many countries, including the UK.

 

CCS is safe

There is considerable evidence to show that CO2 can be stored safely and securely.

 

CCS with bio-energy (known as BECCS) has the potential to produce net-negative CO2 emissions

BECCS works by combining biomass fuels (made from plants), which absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow. When biomass is combusted in a power plant that CO2 is ordinarily released, but with CCS it is captured.

 

CCS balances the inflexibility of nuclear and the intermittency of renewables

CCS with fossil fuel power generation can work together with renewable energy as CCS power plants have the ability to be dialed down when renewables can meet energy demand and dialed up when they can’t, such as on cloudy or wind free days. Nuclear power plants cannot offer this flexibility.