Nov 29, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Cautious hope for CO2 capture after "false starts"

Pipeline of CO2 capture, utilization and storage projects
Data: IEA; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pipeline of carbon capture projects worldwide is growing and there are signs that fewer plans will die on the vine than in the past, the International Energy Agency said.

Why it matters: Carbon capture, utilization and storage has the potential to curb emissions from heavy industries and power generation. But the long-hoped-for scale-up of commercial deployment has unfolded very slowly.

Driving the news: The new IEA commentary says over 100 projects have been announced this year. And more projects may survive the journey from concept to commercial operation, writes Samantha McCulloch, head of IEA's CCUS unit.

  • "While CCUS certainly still faces challenges, the combination of strengthened climate goals, an improved investment environment and new business models have set the stage for greater success in coming years," she writes.

Catch up fast: The IEA report catalogs the gap between hope and reality in the past, with numerous projects canceled over the past decade.

  • Less than 3 million tons of CO2 capture capacity has been added annually. Right now global capacity is around 40 million tons.
  • That's a far cry from the 1.6 billion cumulative total envisioned by 2030 in IEA's roadmap for meeting net-zero global emissions by 2050.

Read the analysis.

Go deeper