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Exploring Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) as a climate change strategy.

CCUS as a climate change strategy

RiskClima, our platform for managing natural and transient climate change risks, assists businesses with decision-making and strategic planning for Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS), among other services.

But what is CCUS and how does it contribute as a climate change strategy?

What is Carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS)?

With CCUS, CO2 emissions can be captured during industrial activities such as steel and cement production, as well as from the burning of fossil fuels in electricity generation. The captured CO2 is then transported by ship or pipelines and stored deep underground or utilized for product manufacturing. CCUS is a highly anticipated key to the global climate goals.

How does CCUS work?

CCUS, as illustrated in Figure 1 below, involves three main stages:

  1. Capture: CO2 is captured from fossil fuel or biomass-fired power plants, industrial facilities, or directly from the air.

  2. Transport: Compressed CO2 is transported by ship or pipeline from the capture point to the point of use or storage.

  3. Storage/Use:

  • Storage: Permanent storage in underground geological formations, either onshore or offshore.

  • Use: Utilizing CO2 as a raw material for the creation of products or services.

A visual overview of each step in the CCUS process.

Figure 1: A visual overview of each step in the CCUS process. 

How can CCUS help address climate change?

CCUS could undoubtedly become a key player in global decarbonization efforts with its wide scale application. Firstly, it can reduce emissions in "hard-to-abate" industries such as iron, steel, and chemicals, where achieving significant decarbonization is particularly challenging. Additionally, CCUS offers a cost-effective solution to cut a significant amount of emissions from cement production, a sector that generates a considerable amount of global emissions.


Furthermore, CCUS is also related with low-carbon electricity and hydrogen production, which can facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels and towards greener solutions. By integrating CCUS with power plants that use coal, gas, biomass, or waste, low-carbon electricity can replace traditional fossil fuel sources in transportation, heating, and industrial processes. Hydrogen produced via CCUS can also serve as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels in combustion and industrial applications, as well as in long-haul transportation.

Moreover, CCUS plays a crucial role in carbon dioxide removal (CDR) efforts necessary for achieving net-zero emissions globally. The recent IPCC assessment report emphasizes the value of developing CDR technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS), alongside other carbon mitigation strategies. BECCS involves capturing CO2 from biomass sources, enabling net CO2 removal when biomass is sustainably managed. Unlike DACCS, which directly captures CO2 from the atmosphere, both sharing the same technological background with CCUS..

However, despite nearly ten large-scale commercial capture facilities being commissioned in 2023, the planned projects up to 2030 account for only about 40% of what is needed to meet the requirements of the Net Zero scenario.

CCUS pipeline of projects

Figure 2: Capacity of current and planned large-scale CO2 capture projects vs. the Net Zero Scenario, 2020-2030

Leading companies in Greece have, among others, already invested in carbon capturing projects and participated in major global research programs.

What are the general concerns around CCUS?

Key concerns surrounding CCUS primarily revolve around cost and technological uncertainties. CCUS projects are capital-intensive to establish and require significant energy for operation, leading to high expenses especially during periods of higher energy prices. Despite these challenges, the imperative to reduce emissions due to stricter climate goals and rising carbon prices makes CCUS a necessary consideration, with its costs and risks compared against other decarbonization strategies rather than inaction.

Additionally, there are concerns about potential CO2 leakages from storage sites, which could cause environmental harm and undermine emission reduction efforts. However, strict regulations are in place and quickly improving by selecting, operating and overseeing storage locations.

In conclusion, Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) holds immense promise as a strategic tool in the fight against climate change. The CCUS program ensures that CO2 emissions are captured and safely kept while facilitating the transition to low-carbon energy systems and offers a pathway towards achieving net-zero emissions and ensuring a more sustainable future.  

At E-On Integration, we created RiskClima to aid decision-making and strategic planning for CCUS and climate action. RiskClima provides a knowledge database and tools for assessing opportunities, quantifying climate metrics and performing cost-benefit analyses for net-zero strategies. It helps users monitor progress and track targets to achieve net-zero emissions. With RiskClima, stakeholders gain valuable insights to drive sustainable outcomes and meet climate goals.



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