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Perspective

Carbon capture, storage and utilisation

Capturing CO₂ from energy-efficient emitters

Any pathway to mitigate climate change requires a reduction of CO₂ emissions. Carbon capture holds part of the key to drive CO₂ emissions to zero and beyond.
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15 November 2022
CCSU Whitepaper frontpage

White Paper: Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage

This article is part of the publication “Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage.

The content of this article was produced in close collaboration with Green Power Denmark A/S.

Download the publication

While some action has already been taken to mitigate climate change, most of the action has been focused primarily on eliminating emissions, e.g. by improving energy efficiency or electrifying processes with renewable electricity. However, to achieve the goal of climate neutrality, there is the debatable need to remove substantial (gigatons) amounts CO₂ from the atmosphere every year for decades to come.

Carbon capture technologies capture CO₂ either directly from the atmosphere or at a point source of emission. The most efficient way to capture CO₂ is from carbon point sources such as heat and power plants, waste-to-energy facilities and industrial plants as the concentration of CO₂ at a point source is much higher than in the atmosphere. Depending on the origin and use of the captured CO₂, the captured CO₂ can either result in climate-neutral emissions or even climate-negative emissions.

 

CO₂ from hard-to-abate sectors

Hard-to-abate sectors include industries where complete decarbonisation is prohibitively costly or technically impossible based on currently available technologies. Emissions from these industries are often related to the physical processes themselves, e.g. when limestone is transformed into cement. By capturing CO₂ from these processes, it becomes possible to make hard-to-abate sectors climate neutral.

CCUS matrix

CCUS is a proven technology with the potential to reduce emissions from hard-to-abate sectors. Depending on the source and the usage of the CO₂, the technology can either help remove carbon from the atmosphere, make heavy industries carbon-neutral or be a platform for producing carbon-neutral products such as green fuels and green plastic.

CO₂ from biogenic sources

Sources of biogenic CO₂ cover plants using sustainable biomass, biogas plants, and biogenic waste. In other words, biogenic CO₂ originate from biological sources and are included in the natural carbon cycle. Hereby, the biogenic CO₂ becomes valuable for several uses: It can be removed completely from the atmosphere by storing it in the underground (negative emissions) or it can be used to avoid CO₂ emissions in other sectors by transforming the CO₂ into valuable climate-neutral products such as green fuels and green plastic.

Denmark has great potential to lead the development and implementation of carbon capture as several biogenic carbon point sources are located in Denmark. However, shortages of CO₂ supply are expected in the future, as the demand for carbon storage and utilisation is increasing, and the supply of CO₂ from point sources is decreasing due to optimisations and decommissioning of power plants.

Capturing CO₂ from point sources is a first and important step towards climate neutrality. Yet, the point sources alone will not drive the world’s CO₂ emissions to zero. Therefore, new ways of capturing CO₂ from the atmosphere must be developed and matured rapidly and within the next decade. In Denmark, research in direct CO2 capture is ongoing but it is still in its infancy and on a low technological readiness level. Several larger research investments in Denmark are aiming to change that.

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Carbon capture, storage and utilisation