CCS-as-a-Service: Turning greenhouse gas into opportunity

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CCS-as-a-Service: Turning greenhouse gas into opportunity

CCS-as-a-Service: Turning greenhouse gas into opportunity

Subheading text
Carbon Capture Storage-as-a-Service is redefining the fight against climate change, turning industrial emissions into buried treasures.
    • Author:
    • Author name
      Quantumrun Foresight
    • May 17, 2024

    Insight summary

    Carbon Capture Storage (CCS)-as-a-Service offers industries a practical way to reduce carbon emissions by outsourcing carbon dioxide (CO2) capture, transportation, and storage, making it easier for hard-to-decarbonize sectors to minimize their environmental impact. This model is gaining traction, as seen in projects like Northern Lights in Norway, which demonstrate the feasibility and scalability of such services for significant CO2 reduction. However, the success of CCS-as-a-Service hinges on overcoming challenges like the need for increased adoption rates, supportive policies, and public acceptance to meet global decarbonization targets effectively.

    Carbon Capture Storage (CCS)-as-a-Service  context

    CCS-as-a-Service is emerging as a vital solution for industries aiming to mitigate their carbon footprint without the prohibitive upfront costs associated with CCS infrastructure. This model allows businesses to outsource the capture, transportation, and storage of CO2, paying on a per-ton basis. This approach is particularly appealing for sectors that are hard to decarbonize, offering them a viable pathway to reduce emissions while focusing on their primary operations. For instance, the Northern Lights project in Norway, a collaboration between TotalEnergies, Equinor, and Shell, is set to begin operations in 2024, aiming to store 1.5 million tons of CO2 annually, with plans to expand capacity to 5 million tons by 2026. 

    Companies like Capsol Technologies and Storegga have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on large-scale CCS projects, covering the entire value chain from capture to storage. Capsol's use of Hot Potassium Carbonate (HPC) technology for efficient CO2 capture, combined with Storegga's expertise in CO2 transportation and storage, exemplifies the collaborative efforts needed to make CCS more accessible and economically viable for a broader range of emitters. This partnership underscores the industry's move towards innovative solutions that can help achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions.

    Despite the promising advances, the scale of the challenge in meeting global decarbonization targets remains daunting. For instance, the Global Carbon Budget highlighted the need for a 120-fold increase in Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) adoption by 2050 to meet net-zero commitments. This goal underscores the importance of supportive policies, public acceptance, and further technological advancements to ensure the scalability of CCS solutions. 

    Disruptive impact

    As industries increasingly adopt CCS technologies, new career paths in engineering, technology development, and environmental science will likely emerge. This trend could lead to cleaner air and reduced health problems associated with air pollution, improving overall quality of life. However, there is a potential downside if reliance on CCS discourages direct reductions in emissions or shifts focus away from renewable energy sources, possibly delaying more sustainable changes in personal and community energy use.

    For companies, integrating CCS into their sustainability strategies will enable them to continue operating while meeting stricter emission regulations, potentially gaining a competitive edge in markets where consumers prioritize environmentally responsible products. This trend encourages companies to innovate in their operations, leading to more efficient processes that reduce carbon footprints and lower operational costs in the long run. Nonetheless, the financial implications of adopting CCS, even as a service, might strain small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that lack the resources to invest in such technologies, possibly widening the gap between large corporations and SMEs in terms of environmental impact and regulatory compliance.

    The rise of CCS-as-a-Service requires the development of comprehensive policies and regulations to ensure the safe and effective implementation of carbon capture projects. Governments may need to invest in research and development to support the CCS industry, encourage public-private partnerships, and provide incentives for businesses to adopt carbon capture solutions. Internationally, this trend could foster cooperation on climate initiatives as countries work together to develop cross-border carbon storage solutions. 

    Implications of Carbon Capture Storage (CCS)-as-a-Service 

    Wider implications of CCS-as-a-Service  may include: 

    • Shifts in energy industry labor markets, with declining demand for jobs in traditional fossil fuel sectors and rising demand in carbon management and renewable energy.
    • Governments establishing incentives for carbon capture adoption, such as tax breaks and subsidies, encouraging businesses to invest in CCS technologies.
    • New educational programs and curricula focused on carbon management and environmental sustainability, preparing the next generation of workers.
    • Potential for environmental justice issues if CCS facilities are disproportionately located in low-income or marginalized communities, requiring careful site selection and community engagement.
    • Rise in consumer demand for products from companies that actively reduce their carbon footprint, influencing market trends and business strategies.
    • Increased public and private funding for research into more efficient and cost-effective carbon capture and storage methods, driving technological advancements.
    • Implementation of stringent regulations and standards for the safe transport and storage of CO2, ensuring public safety and environmental protection.
    • Shifts in demographic patterns as regions with CCS capabilities become more attractive for industries looking to decarbonize, potentially revitalizing certain areas economically.

    Questions to consider

    • What role can local businesses play in accelerating the adoption of carbon capture technologies in your community?
    • How could advancements in CCS technology change the landscape of renewable energy usage in the future?