According to a report from Morgan Stanley the world is threatened by a climate change emergency and people are looking at technologies like carbon capture to lead the way in the green economy transition.
Policymakers and chief executives are also under intensifying pressure to deliver on promises made from the Paris Agreement and save costs related to the dangerous consequences of changing climate.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of the most talked-about solutions that could represent viable leverage for transitioning to a net-zero future. The technology prevents emissions from entering the atmosphere by capturing them at the source or extracting them from ambient air.
Established energy companies and new tech startups both have the opportunity to participate in this market with alternative offerings. Oil and gas companies are mostly under pressure to improve their carbon footprint so they look into expanding their carbon capture and storage capacity and efficiency.
They are also trying to create new revenue streams while lowering their own emissions. This is known as carbon capture utilization and storage and involves selling the captured emissions to the industry to use as a resource. The segment is facilitating the circular economy which is why it is attracting governments’ interest.
Who Drives The Carbon Capture Industry?
The US energy sector is ahead of the curve when it comes to applying carbon capture and sequestration. The gas industry in the country has mainly used the technology to capture carbon and transport it by pipelines to oil fields for enhanced oil recovery.
“CCS has received a wave of investment from U.S. Energy building on already established market leadership… The sector is well-positioned to scale CCS, underpinned by key competitive advantages, including geologic expertise and ample access to sequestration capacity,” said Devin McDermott, Equity Analyst and Commodities Strategist.
Estimates from the National Petroleum Council show that based on existing infrastructure, 1.2 billion tons per year of carbon can be captured and stored in the US at a cost of $150/ton or less. That is nearly 25% of total US emissions and almost half of all emissions from stationary sources.
Even though oil and gas companies are the ones responsible for the biggest part of climate change, they could be those driving the transition towards clean fuels.
They could also be the largest clients for the carbon capture industry as they need the technology to be applied at large stationary sources like fossil fuel-fired power plants.
One carbon capture technology, in particular, has captured the eye of investors and the market. Direct air capture is working to extract emissions from ambient air with the goal of reducing the greenhouse gasses already built-up in the atmosphere.
The segment is still nascent but according to scientists, may hold the key to carbon neutrality.