Table of Contents
What is CCUS and what is it used for in industrial manufacturing?
CCUS stands for carbon capture, usage and storage. It is a set of technologies that capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial processes or power generation, and either store it underground or use it for other purposes, such as enhanced oil recovery or chemical production.
CCUS can be used for various purposes in industrial manufacturing, such as:
- Reducing emissions from hard-to-decarbonise sectors, such as steel, cement, or chemicals, which produce large amounts of CO2 from their production processes or from the combustion of fossil fuels. CCUS can capture up to 90% of the CO2 emissions from these sectors, and either store them permanently in geological formations or use them for other applications that avoid or reduce emissions.
- Creating new revenue streams from carbon utilisation, which involves converting captured CO2 into useful products or services, such as fuels, chemicals, plastics, building materials, or fertilisers. Carbon utilisation can create new markets and opportunities for industrial manufacturing, as well as reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and raw materials.
- Enabling negative emissions when combined with biomass (BECCS), which involves capturing CO2 from the combustion of biomass, such as wood chips or agricultural residues. Biomass is considered a renewable and carbon-neutral energy source, as it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere during its growth. By capturing and storing the CO2 from biomass combustion, BECCS can achieve negative emissions, meaning that more CO2 is removed from the atmosphere than emitted.
How efficient is CCUS for industrial manufacturing?
The efficiency of CCUS for industrial manufacturing depends on various factors, such as the type of capture technology (post-combustion, pre-combustion, or oxy-fuel), the capture rate, and the energy penalty.
- The type of capture technology refers to the method of separating CO2 from the flue gas or the fuel gas of an industrial process or a power plant. The main types of capture technologies are:
- Post-combustion, which involves capturing CO2 after the fuel is burned in air, using chemical solvents, membranes, or adsorbents. This is the most widely used and mature technology for CCUS, and it can be applied to existing plants with minimal modifications.
- Pre-combustion, which involves capturing CO2 before the fuel is burned in air, by converting the fuel into a mixture of hydrogen and CO2 (syngas), using steam reforming or gasification. The CO2 is then separated from the syngas using physical solvents or membranes. This technology requires more complex and costly modifications to existing plants, but it can achieve higher capture rates and lower energy penalties than post-combustion.
- Oxy-fuel, which involves burning the fuel in pure oxygen instead of air, resulting in a flue gas that consists mainly of CO2 and water vapour. The water vapour is then condensed and removed, leaving a concentrated stream of CO2. This technology requires new plants with specialised equipment and oxygen supply systems, but it can also achieve higher capture rates and lower energy penalties than post-combustion.
- The capture rate refers to the percentage of CO2 that is captured from the flue gas or the fuel gas of an industrial process or a power plant. The capture rate depends on various factors, such as the concentration of CO2 in the gas stream, the type and design of the capture technology, and the operational conditions. The typical capture rate for CCUS ranges from 80% to 95% .
- The energy penalty refers to the amount of energy that is consumed by the capture technology to separate and compress CO2 from the flue gas or the fuel gas of an industrial process or a power plant. The energy penalty reduces the net output and efficiency of the process or plant, and increases its operating costs and emissions. The typical energy penalty for CCUS ranges from 10% to 40% .
What are the pros and cons of CCUS for industrial manufacturing?
CCUS has several advantages for industrial manufacturing, such as:
- Mitigating climate change, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from hard-to-decarbonise sectors, and enabling negative emissions when combined with biomass.
- Diversifying energy sources, by creating new products or services from captured CO2, such as fuels, chemicals, plastics, building materials, or fertilisers.
- Creating jobs and growth, by stimulating innovation, investment, and market development in CCUS technologies and carbon utilisation products.
However, CCUS also has some disadvantages for industrial manufacturing, such as:
- High capital and operating costs, which make CCUS projects less competitive and attractive than other low-carbon options, especially in the absence of adequate policy support and incentives.
- Technical uncertainties, which pose challenges for the design, operation, and performance of CCUS technologies, especially for large-scale and integrated systems.
- Regulatory hurdles, which create barriers for the development and deployment of CCUS projects, especially for the transport and storage of CO2 across borders and jurisdictions.
- Environmental risks, which raise concerns for the safety and integrity of CO2 storage sites, as well as the potential impacts of CO2 leakage on human health and ecosystems.
How much can CCUS contribute to net zero and decarbonisation goals for industrial manufacturing?
CCUS can contribute significantly to net zero and decarbonisation goals for industrial manufacturing, by reducing the emissions from hard-to-decarbonise sectors, creating new products or services from captured CO2, and enabling negative emissions when combined with biomass. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) , CCUS could cut global CO2 emissions from industrial manufacturing by 1.5 gigatons per year by 2050, compared to a business-as-usual scenario. This would represent a 15% reduction in industrial emissions, and a 4% reduction in global emissions.
The potential contribution of CCUS to net zero and decarbonisation goals for industrial manufacturing depends on various factors, such as the availability and cost of low-carbon electricity, the development and deployment of low-carbon industrial processes, the adoption and diffusion of CCUS technologies, and the policy support and incentives for CCUS projects.
According to the IEA , CCUS could constitute approximately 15% of cumulative CO2 emissions reductions in industry by 2050, compared to a business-as-usual scenario. This would require a rapid increase in the deployment of CCUS projects, from 40 megatons per year in 2020 to 800 megatons per year in 2030, and to 2,600 megatons per year in 2050. This would also require a significant increase in the installed capacity of CCUS, from 40 megawatts in 2020 to 800 megawatts in 2030, and to 2,600 megawatts in 2050.
Are CCUS future proof for industrial manufacturing?
CCUS is likely to be future proof for industrial manufacturing, as it can provide a low-carbon and cost-effective solution for reducing emissions from hard-to-decarbonise sectors, creating new products or services from captured CO2, and enabling negative emissions when combined with biomass. However, there are some challenges and uncertainties that need to be addressed, such as:
- Technological innovations, which are needed to improve the efficiency, performance, reliability, and durability of CCUS technologies, as well as to reduce their costs, energy penalties, and environmental impacts.
- Policy incentives, which are needed to create a favourable regulatory framework, provide financial support, remove market barriers, and raise awareness and confidence among industrial users and stakeholders.
- Market opportunities, which are needed to stimulate the demand and supply of carbon utilisation products or services, as well as to ensure their quality, safety, and sustainability.
- Public acceptance, which is needed to address the social and ethical concerns related to CCUS projects, such as the ownership, liability, and monitoring of CO2 storage sites, as well as the potential impacts of CO2 leakage on human health and ecosystems.
To ensure that CCUS is future proof for industrial manufacturing, it is important to foster collaboration and coordination among different actors, such as policy makers, industry associations, manufacturers, suppliers, researchers, and end-users. It is also important to monitor and evaluate the performance and impacts of CCUS projects, and to share best practices and lessons learned. By doing so, CCUS can play a key role in achieving net zero and decarbonisation goals for industrial manufacturing.
Get in touch with Enertherm Engineering
- Want to improve your production efficiency?
- Want to reduce your energy use and carbon footprint?
- Want to design and develop more efficient thermal processing solutions?
Enertherm Engineering can help you with their innovative and comprehensive industrial engineering solutions. They have the expertise, experience, and resources to help you with any engineering project, in any industry. Don’t miss this opportunity to work with a passionate and professional team that can help you become an environmental leader in your sector. Contact Enertherm Engineering today and get a free quote for your project.