What Is CCUS Technology & How Does It Work?
May 27, 2021 Welcome
Currently, Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technologies have been making waves—probably because they are in line with meeting global greenhouse gas reduction goals. Perhaps we should consider giving more attention to capturing CO2 around stationary pollution sources, like coal plants that make up a high percentage of CO2 emissions. Keep reading this article where we describe how these technologies create cleaner air.
What is CCUS?
CCUS is a technology that removes high levels of CO2 released by industrial activities from the atmosphere and effectively utilizes them. Covering several methods and technologies, it includes:
- Removing CO2 from flue gas and the atmosphere
- CO2 recycling for further applications and
- Locating safe and sustainable storage options
How Does Carbon Capture Work?
The carbon capture process prevents the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. A typical CCUS arrangement includes placing a CO2 -absorbing chemical near the gas source (typically flue gases from combustion engines). This easily captures huge amounts of CO2, which is subsequently compressed and transported for industrial application or permanent storage (or sequestration).
Industrial Applications of CCUS
There are various uses for CCUS technology cutting across several sectors. Some key sectors that utilize this technology include:
- Concrete and Cement Industrial Sectors
- Basic Chemicals and Fuel Industrial Sectors
- Fine Chemicals Sector
Concrete and Cement Industrial Sectors
CO2 emitted in the process of firing limestone and clay is recovered and sequestered in hardened concrete.
Basic Chemicals and Fuel Industrial Sectors
It can also be used as a source of CO2 required for synthetic gas production needed for the further production of bio-jet fuel.
Fine Chemicals Sector
Captured CO2 and biomass are converted to oxygenated compounds like high-functional plastics.
Carbon Capture vs. Direct Air Capture (DAC)
The key differences between these two forms of CO2 capture are outlined below.
- How They Work
- Where the Technology Can Be Used
- How the Technology Addresses Climate Change Challenges
- Governmental Support
How They Work
Unlike CCUS that requires that the CO2 -absorbing chemical be placed near the pollution source, DAC captures CO2 from the atmosphere, regardless of proximity to the source or the time of the pollution.
Where the Technology Can Be Used
Stationary sources of CO2, like power plants and industrial facilities, are ideal for CCUS application. CCUS technologies can be installed by retrofitting existing facilities that produce high levels of CO2. However, DAC technologies can be installed anywhere in proximity to electrical power sources and carbon storage facilities.
How the Technology Addresses Climate Change Challenges
CCUS addresses climate change by capturing CO2 from stationary pollution sources while DAC captures it from the atmosphere. They both ensure decarbonization necessary for handling global climate change challenges.
Unlike CCUS technology, whose research the Department of Energy (DOE) has invested a lot of funds in, DAC technology has not been a research area of focus.
Benefits of Carbon Capture Technologies
There are many benefits carbon capture technologies offer. A few of them include
- CO2 Emission Reduction
- Economic Development
- Fuel Diversity and Grid Reliability
- International Development
CO2 Emission Reduction
Policymakers should consider coal-fired power plants since it is comparatively the best place to start to decrease CO2 emissions. Other emission sources like transportation, industrial, residential, and commercial sectors are decentralized and mobile, making it difficult for the effective application of CCUS technology. A collection of public utility commission staff, the State CO2 -EOR Deployment Working Group, discovered that CCUS techniques are cheaper than most CO2 emission reduction alternatives for existing coal plants.
CCUS technology has a wide variety of economic benefits, including job security and creation, increase in GDP, high dependence on oil importation mitigation, and increase in investments in the energy and industrial sectors. It secures the jobs of the workers in coal plants that are still functioning and aids the creation of new ones. The Carbon Utilization Research Council and ClearPath Foundation estimated a minimum of $70 billion GDP growth by 2040 if an extensive RD&D program for CO2 -EOR is done.
Fuel Diversity and Grid Reliability
National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) analysis found that retiring coal plants, which are a major contributor to the U.S. fuel diversity, can threaten access to reliable and affordable energy. However, the advent of CCUS technology has reduced the pressure for the total retirement of these plants, thereby maintaining fuel diversity and grid reliability.
Although most developed countries are not considering building new coal plants due to pollution concerns, developing countries are relying on them for the provision of less expensive electrical power. This provides internationalization opportunities for U.S. firms. They can help these countries strike a balance between providing reliable power and committing to greenhouse gas reduction objectives by developing and applying CCUS to new and existing plants.
How Does CCUS Fight Climate Change?
As earlier mentioned, CO2 emissions into the atmosphere can be significantly lowered using CCUS technology. CO2 captured with this technology is used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for increased oil production, permanently sequestering it. This way, the technology plays a crucial role in decarbonization and addresses global climate change challenges. Studies, however, suggest that the technology must be deployed on a large scale before its impact can truly be felt.
Contact IFS for Carbon Capture Solutions
At IFS, we are dedicated to providing our clients with advanced carbon capture solutions. We offer top-notch solutions guaranteed to effectively meet your carbon capture, utilization, and storage needs. For further information about our products and services, please contact us today!