CCS and Energy Challenges at the UN CCC’s COP 25

Carbon capture and storage vital in achieving the UK’s commitment to net zero by 2050

As the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 gets underway this month, our leading academics, Professor Jon Gibbins, Director of UK CCS Research Centre, and Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Director of the Energy Institute, give their expert opinion on the key energy challenges that need to be addressed at this year’s conference:

“The UK is one of the few countries in the world that has made an objective assessment of how to reach net zero by 2050, as well as making net zero a legal obligation rather than just an aspiration. This leading role is strongly supported by the Committee on Climate Change and their May 2019 report ‘Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming’ is a detailed quantitative analysis of the measures required.

The Committee on Climate Change has a range of scenarios for UK net-zero Greenhouse gases (GHSs) in 2050. These include societal choices alongside resource and energy efficiency measures to reduce demand for energy across the economy but also very significant amounts of low-carbon power, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Carbon-free energy vectors are obviously essential – electricity for transport and heating, and hydrogen for industry, HGVs, ships and electricity generation and heating in peak periods.

To achieve net zero GHG emissions, the Committee on Climate Change consider CCS to be a necessity not an option, for industry, with bioenergy for GHG removal from the atmosphere, and very likely for hydrogen and electricity production. Beyond that, to achieve the last 5% of cuts, even more radical measures are needed, such as direct removal of CO2 from the atmosphere using the same CCS infrastructure. Total UK CO2 storage in 2050 is expected to correspond to between one and two tonnes per person per year.”

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