Insights

The Sushi Side of CCS

Organisation: Global CCS Institute

Over cocktails at the Japan CCS Forum reception, one of more than 200 delegates attending - a high-ranking government official – confided (almost conspiratorially), that clean technologies were a bit like tuna.

“Some, like renewables, are lighter red in colour and much more common. Everyone likes them and they are cheap to buy in your everyday Bento Box. Others, like CCS on the other hand, are deeper red in colour. They are harder to find and people who know the difference pay more knowing it is much more desirable.”

Making CCS more desirable and how to do that, was an overriding theme at this year’s Global CCS Institute’s Tokyo forum which attracted leaders from government, industry, academia and the media (including Japan’s major media houses).

The analogy was a clever one to draw in the home nation of sushi where fish is a fine art as well as a food staple.

Speaker after speaker at this year’s forum spoke of the imperative need to educate wider audiences about the need to deploy CCS, and its indispensable place in reaching CO2 climate goals.

Speaking to the IEA’s new “Beyond Two Degrees” (B2D) scenarios, International Energy Agency CCS head, Juho Lipponen, said new mapping to 2060 and beyond showed that 32 per cent of energy technology had to be CCS if carbon neutrality was to be achieved.

“Recent success in solar and wind will have to be extended to all other carbon solutions and brought to a scale never before experienced.

“Maybe there is a time beyond our lifetime, and our children’s lifetime, which is largely renewable. But in the next century, you are not going to get there without CCS.”

The Institute’s APAC GM, Alex Zapantis, echoed these comments, saying CCS should not be seen as simply transitional but an essential enabler to the “new economy.”

“It’s not just an add-on,” he emphasised. “It is part of the destination. Jobs, economies, sustainability depends on it. Public and private partnerships are now desperately important. Politicians want to see large reputable companies coming to them and saying: `we want to invest’.”

Zapantis said one of CCS’s current difficulties was the perception that CCS was only applicable to coal.

“Many environmental organisations see it as intrinsically caught up in coal so they are philosophically opposed. We need to work harder to demonstrate the fact that CCS is the only clean technology that can decarbonise industry.”

The United State’s Department of Energy (DoE) Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary (Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management), Office of Fossil Energy, Jared Daniels - an advisor to US President Donald Trump - expanded on these comments.

“Industry is where the low hanging fruit is for CCS,” he said. “It is the solution for biofuel production, natural gas processing, cement and steel. The Trump administration is focusing on the economic value that CCS projects can provide the nation.

This is good for the economy and good for the environment. CCS shows that you can have your cake and eat it too.”

Lunch at the Forum was a Bento Box, exquisitely wrapped in pink fabric and containing a variety of Japanese delicacies including cake and tuna. Appropriately, both were deep red in colour.