Understanding CCS


Read the highlights on industrial CCS below, or access the full publications:


The world will use around a third more energy in 2040 compare to 2013.

Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, is a process used to capture carbon dioxide gas (CO2) that is produced by power stations or other types of industrial facilities. To keep CO2 out of the atmosphere, it is captured from the power plant or industry, transported, and securely stored underground, permanently.

One of the major benefits of CCS as an emissions reduction technology is that it can be applied to different types of CO2 emissions sources, particularly those with very large volumes of emissions, such as power plants and some industrial facilities.

Importantly, CCS is a proven technology that is already in operation around the world, in a number of industrial sectors. These industrial applications are the main focus of this report, and some of them date back as far as the 1970s and 1980s.


  • The industrial sector is responsible for nearly one quarter of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
  • CCS is the only technology that can achieve deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from high-emitting industries such as steel, cement and fertiliser production.
  • More than a dozen large-scale, integrated carbon capture and storage projects in the industrial sector are in operation today, showcasing just some of the broad industrial applications of carbon capture and storage.
  • The first industrial large-scale carbon capture project on a natural gas processing plant commenced operation in 1972. The most recent large-scale CCS project became operational in November 2015.
  • Since 1972, large-scale CCS projects have cumulatively captured, transported and permanently stored more than 100 million tonnes of CO2.
  • Failure to stimulate a future pipeline of CCS projects could see the cost of climate mitigation more than double.

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Reducing emissions from industries such as iron and steel, cement, chemicals and refining is just as important as reductions in the power sector.

The technology components of carbon capture and storage (CCS) are already proven and in use across a variety of industries and applications.

In some instances, individual industrial facilities can capture millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. However, many industrial plants operate at much smaller scales, and as a result have lower overall emissions. While the combined level of emissions from a number of such smaller scale facilities can be significant, it may be uneconomic for any individual facility to consider application of the full CCS chain which includes capture, compression, transport and permanent storage of CO2.

One solution to this problem is clustering, in which several industrial facilities share CCS infrastructure and knowledge, and thus reduce their costs compared with each facility attempting to individually reduce emissions. This report provides an overview of the idea of clustering as applied to industrial CCS projects, and examines the conditions needed for its more widespread adoption.


  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is already in use across a variety of industrial applications, and has been for decades.
  • A CCS hub and cluster network brings together multiple carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters and/or multiple storage locations using shared transportation infrastructure.
  • Areas where there is both a high concentration of CO2 emitting industries and a nearby capacity to store emissions are considered prime sites for hub and cluster developments.
  • Hub and cluster networks offer several distinct advantages for network participants, compared with ‘point-to-point’ projects. The hub and cluster approach reduces costs and risks for many potential CCS projects, and enables CO2 capture from small volume industrial facilities.
  • Strong policy support and cooperation between potential participants is needed for the development of CCS hubs and clusters, which is vital to decarbonising industrial processes and products while supporting the sustainable development of low-carbon industries.

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CO2 transport network

Industrial CCS diagram

Image: A CO2 transport network, showing a capture cluster, capture and collection hub and storage hub.