It is easy to take for granted that everyone else is as engaged by one’s passion and purpose as oneself. As I embarked on the Aker Carbon Capture journey last summer, I must admit that I can easily be rather submerged in topics related to climate mitigation, energy transition, carbon capture (I mean, who wouldn’t!?).
Every now and then I get an important reminder that although this is my world, it is still a rather unknown territory and a foreign language to many. So, as an aid to decipher this universe I have put together a brief overview of key carbon capture terms and nice-to-know information:
CCUS: short for carbon capture, utilization, and storage. Often distinguished as CCU or CCS.
CCU: up until now captured CO2 has typically been utilized in the food and beverages industry, production of fertilizers, in greenhouses and for enhanced oil recovery. The two main challenges with utilization of CO2, is the high energy demand required to convert it, and that the CO2 in a lifecycle perspective typically ends up being released back to the atmosphere.
CCS: in order to mitigate climate change a steep increase in stored CO2 is needed. Suitable storage sites are typically geological formations such as oil and gas reservoirs and saline formations. Simplified we could say that we inject CO2 in the same way as we extract oil and gas. In Norway we have 25 years of experience in storing CO2 at the Sleipner field.
Why: As nations and companies all over the world is pledging net zero targets, we need to make use of all tools in the toolbox to meet these targets. In addition to widely recognised methods such as electrification, renewable energy sources, improved energy efficiency and change of fuels, carbon capture and storage is an integral part of the solution and is estimated by IEA to reduce and remove 7.6 gigatons of CO2 annually in 2050. Carbon capture can be summarized to fulfil 3 roles:
1. Enable the reduction of industrial emissions that have no other alternatives, e.g. cement and steel production, and residual waste management.
2. Facilitate the transition to the low-carbon energy market by, among other things, enable blue hydrogen.
3. Remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Even if we use all aforementioned tools, there will still be residual emissions that must be handled, and we can do that by storing biogenic CO2 or through direct air capture and storage.
Longship: Norway’s full-scale demonstration project of the entire value chain for carbon capture, transport, and storage. This provides not only an important basis for scaling up a central part of the climate solution but is also an investment in green industry and job creation.
In Brevik, carbon capture is neither unknown, nor a distant future vision. Forming part of the Longship value-chain, the world’s first full-scale carbon capture plant at a cement factory is currently being constructed, enabling the capture of 400.000 tons of CO2 annually, corresponding to removing 200.000 fossil cars from the roads. The cement industry accounts for 5-7% of global CO2 emissions, and the Brevik CCS project is an important step towards a sustainable cement industry.
Northern Lights: represents the storage part of the Longship project, located 2600 metres below the seabed of the North Sea. Initial capacity is storage of 1,5 million tons CO2 annually, with the possibility to expand to 5 million tons. The facility is ready to receive carbon captured at Brevik and other emitters from 2024. Several other storage locations are being matured in Europe.
Being successful in climate change mitigation and achieving the Paris goals, require change from all of us; from individuals to industries and nations, it requires bold leadership in an unprecedented era, and most importantly, it requires action now. As Longship is materializing it is immensely important that others follow – and for that reason I sincerely hope that although these terms were perhaps a bit new to you now, they will certainly not be moving forward!