Decarbonization CCUS is Trending Globally

From Ahlam Rais Reading Time: 5 min

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Climate change is real and there is an urgent need to reduce and eliminate harmful global greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector if we want future generations and habitat to survive on this planet. Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage is a key technology that can help today’s industries to decarbonize their operations and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The U.S. was the first to launch a ‘Net-Zero Government Initiative’ under which the country committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The U.S. was the first to launch a ‘Net-Zero Government Initiative’ under which the country committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
(Source: Antony Weerut -

Time is running out! Global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) need to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43 % by 2030, if we want to limit global warming to around 1.5°C, mentions a release by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We are already heading towards the end of 2023 but we are nowhere close to reaching this ambitious goal of saving our planet. In this scenario, technologies such as Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) are critical to accelerate the decarbonization process for industries.

CCUS, as the name suggests is the process of capturing CO2 emissions from industrial processes and then re-using it to produce different products such as synthetic fuel, cement, etc. or storing it deep underground. Countries around the world are now rooting for this technology in order to cut down their GHG emissions.

It’s time for action!

USA: In North America, the United States of America has always been a strong supporter of climate change action and this is evident as the country was the first to launch a ‘Net-Zero Government Initiative’ under which the US committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. One of the technologies zeroed in to achieve this mammoth target is the CCUS technology.

Numerous laws and policies have also been formed to support this technology. For instance, in 2020, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (USE IT Act) came into force. This Act supports CCUS projects; extends the 45Q, a tax credit for carbon sequestration, for two years and also calls for its increased deployment. In 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was passed under which 12.1 billion dollars will be allocated to CCUS research, development, and demonstration; carbon transport and storage infrastructure & permitting; carbon utilization market development; and carbon removal.

Technologies such as Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage are critical to accelerate the decarbonization process for industries.
Technologies such as Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage are critical to accelerate the decarbonization process for industries.
(Source: Fokussiert -

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) was assigned the task to create a blueprint for the systematic and advanced development of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration. Its report focused on the best practices for advancing the efficient and responsible development of CCUS projects at scale.

In line with the report, the Government announced the establishment of two new task forces this year. Their job is to offer recommendations on how to ensure that CCUS projects, including carbon dioxide pipelines, are permitted in an efficient manner, reflect the input and needs of a wide range of stakeholders, and deliver benefits rather than harms to local communities, shares a press release by the White House.

In April 2023, the Biden Government also issued a Carbon Management Challenge at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change (MEF) wherein he urged global members to accelerate carbon capture, removal, use, and storage technologies.

The US is already home to the world's largest carbon capture project – Exxonmobil's Shute Creek CCUS facility which has the capacity to capture 7 mtpa of CO2. The project captures CO2 from its gas processing plant and then sells it to oil companies for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The multinational oil and gas company, Exxonmobil, has recently also announced its plans to develop one of the world’s largest CCS projects at its Baytown site in Texas, USA.

China: Coming down to the Asia-Pacific region, in 2020, the President of China, Xi Jinping announced the country’s ambitions to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. For this reason, China’s14th Five-Year Plan supports large-scale CCUS demonstration projects. Apart from this, the Chinese State Council has also issued numerous national policies and guidelines to encourage the use of CCS.

Last year, Sinopec, the Chinese oil and gas giant, completed the construction of its first CCUS project – the Qilu-Shengli Oilfield CCUS in China. The project aims to reduce carbon emissions by 1 million tons per year by capturing CO2 from Sinopec’s Qilu refinery and then transporting it to the Shengli Oilfield for EOR and storage.

In November 2022, China announced the launch of its first 10-million-ton CCUS project in East China. Sinopec has entered into a non-binding MOU with Shell, China Baowu and BASF to develop the project which will assist industries to decarbonize their operations. According to a press release by Sinopec, the project will explore the feasibility of transporting the CO2 produced by industrial plants in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River to a CO2 receiving station, then transport the CO2 to onshore or offshore storage sites via short-distance pipelines. It further adds that Sinopec, Shell, China Baowu and BASF will not only support the decarbonization of current industries and building of low-carbon product value chains, but also accelerate the development of low-carbon products and a green low-carbon circular economy.

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Denmark: Denmark, in Europe, has committed 5 billion euros in CCUS over a period of 10 years through different government programs as it aims to reduce GHG emissions by 70 % by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. In January 2023, the European Commission approved a 1.1-billion-euro scheme from Denmark under which the adoption of CCS technologies will be encouraged. Recently, the country has announced that it plans to provide 3.9 billion dollars as aid for capturing and storing 2.3 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.

This year, the country’s ‘Project Greensand’ which is the brainchild of a consortium of 23 organizations made headlines for being the world’s first cross-border carbon storage project. Led by the chemical company Ineos, the consortium has successfully captured CO2 from the Ineos Oxide site in Belgium and transported it across the border to the Ineos-operated Nini field in the Danish North Sea to be safely stored. The project aims to capture up to 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Qatar: In the Middle East, Qatar has also set its goal to reduce GHG emissions by 25 % by 2030. The move is in line with the country’s National Vision 2030 which prioritizes environmental development. The petite country has made changes in its energy policies in the backdrop of the climate change crisis and already has an operational CCS facility called Qatar LNG CCS. The project has a capacity to capture 2.2 million tons per annum of CO2 from the Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility and then stores it at a dedicated geological site.

The way ahead…

There are many CCUS projects across the globe that are still in the pipeline and the sheer number of projects will only increase from here on as the world races to decarbonize its industrial operations to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. No doubt, it’s an ambitious goal but simply put, it will just have to be achieved as the clock is ticking and we are running out of time.