Global carbon capture projects saw tremendous growth over the last year, according to research by the Melbourne-based Global CCS Institute. The report is the flagship annual research published by the Global CCS Institute that provides a snapshot of the global state of carbon capture. The full report can be found here.
It shows that the carbon capture and storage plants currently being developed will add 111 million tons a year (mtpa) of capacity, which is a 52% increase since the beginning of the year when only 73 mtpa were confirmed.
In comparison, the capacity of currently operating projects is around 40 million tons per year. The incredible push is a result of governments and organizations trying to find a way to offset anthropogenic emissions that have been on the rise in the last century and a half.
There are a total of 135 commercial CCS facilities in the pipeline – 27 of them are fully operating, 4 are under construction, and 102 are under development. A whopping 71 of the new CCS facilities were added to the project pipeline in 2021 alone.
In Europe alone, there are 35 carbon capture plants currently in development. Countries like the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands have added 17 projects this year. In North America capacity also grew and more than 40 new projects have been announced in 2021. That was partly due to tax credits for CCS that spurred a wave of carbon capture cluster developments.
According to the report, even though more commitments towards carbon capture projects are required for meeting the net zero goal, the interest in the technology is progressing steadily.
One of the major drawbacks in the past for deployment of more carbon capture capacity has been the high costs. Also, some critics say that the technology is mainly used by fossil-fuel companies to continue the reliance on dirty energy resources and slow down the transition towards green energy.
However, CCS development and operations costs have been falling down due to increased deployment while the impetus for emissions cuts has grown.
“The drivers have become much stronger from a business perspective. The costs are coming down…All of this is on the basis of rapidly rising expectations for stronger climate action by pretty much everyone. That’s why we’ll continue to see this rise in projects,” said Global CCS Institute general manager Alex Zapantis.
The CCS Institute’s report was issued earlier this year to coincide with the major COP26 United Nations climate talks that is happening in Glasgow from 31 October – 12 November 2021.
The event will unite global leaders together to accelerate the goal of meeting the Paris Agreement targets. It is one of the most important climate change conferences this year and could frame carbon capture as part of the decarbonization agenda in the countries for the decades ahead.