Carbon Capture and Storage Attract Government Attention

Between 2005 and 2009, some $25 billion of public investment was announced in support of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.1 (See Figure 1.) In 2010, new announcements of CCS investments declined, however, as governments shifted from announcing funding, especially as part of stimulus packages, to allocating funds to specific projects.2

As of March 2011, the Global CCS Institute had identified a total of 79 large-scale fully integrated CCS projects in 17 countries at various stages of development, but only 8 of these were operational.3 (See Figures 2 and 3.) These 8 projects store a combined total of 11.08 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year (Mtpa), equivalent to the amount emitted annually by 2.2 million passenger vehicles in the United States.4 If the remaining 71 projects under planning or development are built, they would add an estimated 152 Mtpa of capacity.5

Governments and industry have been investing heavily in CCS for several years with the aim of substantially decreasing CO2 emissions from the fossil-fueled power sector, especially from greenhouse gas–intensive coal plants, although CCS can also be used in natural gas power plants and a range of industrial facilities. CCS can cut CO2 emissions in coal-fired power plants by 85–95 percent, an essential modification if coal is to continue to provide substantial amounts of power to countries committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.6

Carbon Capture and Storage Figure 1

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