What Are CCUS?
According to a study conducted by Radboud University, most Carbon Capture and Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) technologies, which suck carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and convert it into fuel or other valuable products, might fail to help the world reach Net Zero emissions by 2050.
- The study noted that a majority of these systems are energy intensive and the resultant product can also release CO2 into the atmosphere.
- ‘Net zero emissions’ refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.
- Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) encompasses methods and technologies to remove CO2 from the flue gas and from the atmosphere, followed by recycling the CO2 for utilization and determining safe and permanent storage options.
- CO2 captured using CCUS technologies is converted into fuel (methane and methanol), refrigerants and building materials.
- The captured gas is used directly in fire extinguishers, pharma, food and beverage industries as well as the agricultural sector.
- CCUS technologies can play an important role in meeting net zero targets, including as one of few solutions to tackle emissions from heavy industry and to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
- CCUS is considered an important tool to help countries halve their emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.
- These goals are crucial to meet the Paris Agreement targets for restricting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (°C), and preferable to 1.5°C, over pre-industrial levels.
Applications of CCUS:
- Mitigating Climate Change: Despite the adoption of alternative energy sources and energy efficient systems to reduce the rate of CO2 emissions, the cumulative amount of CO2 in the atmosphere needs to be reduced to limit the detrimental impacts of climate change.
- Agriculture: Capturing CO2 from biogenic sources such as plants and soil to boost crop growth in a greenhouse could work.
- Industrial Use: Combining CO2 with steel slag – an industrial byproduct of the steel manufacturing process — to make construction materials compatible with the Paris Agreement goals.
- Enhanced Oil Recovery: CCU is already making inroads into India. For instance, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation signed a MoU with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) by injecting CO2.