IEA reports compares different pathways for CCUS

November 30, 2021 |

In France, the International Energy Agency has released a report comparing different pathways for carbon capture, use and storage. The reports shows:

  • Almost all CCU routes showed potential for lower life cycle emissions per ton of product compared to their counterfactual. The potential scale for deployment was much greater for fuels and building materials than for chemicals and polymers, which typically had existing markets orders of magnitude smaller. 
  • For fuels, annual abatement levels greater than 1 GtCO2-eq could be achieved for direct replacement ‘drop-in’ fuels. For building materials, annual abatement levels greater than 100 MtCO2-eq could be achieved. CCU building materials also have potential to offer negative emissions when CO2 is sourced from DAC. With the exception of methanol, the total mitigation potential of polymers and chemicals was limited to below 20 MtCO2-eq per year.
  • Most CCU routes within the chemicals and fuels categories were found to be considerably more expensive than conventional fossil-based production routes, due to high energy requirements for green hydrogen feedstock, low yields and high catalyst costs. CCU building materials and polymers can offer cost reductions.
  • There are a range of potential co-benefits (e.g. re-use of waste residues, raw materials reduction, safer production process, improved product properties, energy storage) for CCU routes but there can also be trade-offs (e.g. high energy demand, additional land-use, increased water consumption).
  • Deployment of CCU routes may be more favorable in regions with: (i) low-cost or extensive availability of renewable energy; (ii) high cost or lack of available fossil resources; or (iii) significant low-carbon ambition coupled with political or regulatory mechanisms. The current distribution of CCU R&D projects is concentrated mostly in the EU and the US. 
  • CO2 utilization opportunities are diverse, and each route has its own specific drivers, barriers, and enablers. There are, however, some common themes that span across, e.g.: regulations such as mandates or standards, financial provisions, policies that level the field by recognizing sustainability benefits, sustainable product development, regional energy availability, costs.

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Category: Fuels

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