What is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)?


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a crucial method for mitigating global warming by reducing carbon emissions. This process comprises three steps: capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power generation or industrial processes like steel and cement manufacturing, transporting the captured CO2, and securely storing it underground.

How Does CCS Function?

The CCS process involves three key steps:

  • Carbon Dioxide Capture: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is isolated from other gases generated in industrial operations, like those in coal, natural gas power plants, steelworks, or cement factories.
  • Transportation: The captured CO2 is compressed and conveyed through pipelines, road transport, or ships to a designated storage site.
  • Storage: Subsequently, the CO2 is injected deep underground into rock formations for long-term, secure storage.

Also See: What is Carbon Sequestration?

How Does CCS Contribute to Combating Global Warming?

To meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C (2.7°F), the IPCC emphasizes the need for not only intensifying emission reduction efforts but also adopting technologies to extract carbon from the atmosphere. CCS is among these technologies and can play a significant role in addressing global warming.

Where are Carbon Emissions Stored in CCS?

Carbon emissions can be stored in various locations, with common sites being saline aquifers or depleted oil and gas reservoirs, typically located at depths of 0.62 miles (1km) or more underground.

For instance, in the UK’s proposed Zero Carbon Humber project, carbon emissions will be stored in a saline aquifer known as Endurance, situated in the southern North Sea, approximately 1 mile (1.6km) beneath the seabed, offering substantial storage capacity.

Similarly, the United States hosts multiple large-scale carbon storage sites like the Citronelle Project in Alabama, where carbon is injected into a saline reservoir at a depth of approximately 1.8 miles (2.9km).

What is the Difference Between Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS)?

In addition to CCS, there exists a related concept known as CCUS, which stands for Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage. Unlike CCS, CCUS doesn’t solely focus on carbon storage but also explores the potential to repurpose captured carbon in industrial applications, such as the production of plastics, concrete, or biofuel.

Recommended: 6 Advantages and Disadvantages of Carbon Capture

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