, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 187-205

Carbon capture and storage deployment rates: needs and feasibility

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Abstract

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) may become a key technology to limit human-induced global warming, but many uncertainties prevail, including the necessary technological development, costs, legal ramifications, and siting. As such, an important question is the scale of carbon dioxide abatement we require from CCS to meet future climate targets, and whether they appear reasonable. For a number of energy technology and efficiency improvement scenarios, we use a simple climate model to assess the necessary contribution from CCS to ‘fill the gap’ between scenarios’ carbon dioxide emissions levels and the levels needed to meet alternative climate targets. The need for CCS depends on early or delayed action to curb emissions and the characteristics of the assumed energy scenario. To meet a 2.5°C target a large contribution and fast deployment rates for CCS are required. The required deployment rates are much faster than those seen in the deployment of renewable energy technologies as well as nuclear power the last decades, and may not be feasible. This indicates that more contributions are needed from other low-carbon energy technologies and improved energy efficiency, or substitution of coal for gas in the first half of the century. In addition the limited availability of coal and gas by end of the century and resulting limited scope for CCS implies that meeting the 2.5°C target would require significant contributions from one or more of the following options: CCS linked to oil use, biomass energy based CCS (BECCS), and CCS linked to industrial processes.