Understanding CCS

What is CCS?

CCS is a climate change technology

It encompasses an integrated suite of technologies that can prevent large quantities of CO2 from being released in the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuels. It is a proven technology and has been in safe, commercial operation for 45 years.

All components of CCS are proven technologies that have been used for decades at a commercial scale. Indeed, CCS technology is being used around the world in different ways and is already cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

How CCS works

CCS involves three major steps; capturing CO2 at the source, compressing it for transportation and then injecting it deep into a rock formation at a carefully selected and safe site, where it is permanently stored.

  • Capture: The separation of CO2 from other gases produced at large industrial process facilities such as coal and natural-gas-fired power plants, steel mills, cement plants and refineries.
  • Transport: Once separated, the CO2 is compressed and transported via pipelines, trucks, ships or other methods to a suitable site for geological storage.
  • Storage: CO2 is injected into deep underground rock formations, usually at depths of one kilometre or more.

Because CCS can achieve significant CO2 emission reductions, it is considered a key option within the portfolio of approaches required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

CCS around the world

CCS is recognised as a key, proven technology in reducing greenhouse gas emissions around the world.

It has been applied in a wide range of industries since 1972 when several natural-gas processing plants in the Val Verde area of Texas began employing carbon capture to supply CO2 for EOR operations. Since then, more than 200 million tonnes of CO2 has been captured and injected deep underground.

We track the progress of large-scale CCS projects, also monitoring smaller, notable projects. Access our comprehensive Global CCS database CO2RE for full project listings and links to project websites where available.

In addition, we build, maintain, analyse and provide a comprehensive view of the developing pipeline of demonstration projects, their progress and barriers.

For more information on CCS around the world, refer to the 2017 Global Status Report.

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