Growing Sustainable Industries

CCS is a set of technologies that can enable decarbonisation across multiple sectors including industry, heat, power and transport. For this reason it has a unique role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Industrial CCS

Industries such as steel, cement, chemicals, oil refining, ammonia and glass account for around 20% of overall UK emissions. CCS will be vital to ensuring these industries are able to decarbonise in line with the UK’s carbon budgets and is the only available method for reducing process emissions. Industrial sector roadmaps, developed by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), showed CCS to be crucial especially to the cement, chemicals, iron and steel, and refining industries, contributing to between 43- 62 per cent of overall possible emissions reductions in these sectors. Globally, the majority of CCS projects in operation or under construction are in industry. Examples include the Al Reyadah steel plant in Abu Dhabi.

Power CCS

CCS can be applied to traditional power plants including Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGTs), to enable large volumes of low carbon, flexible power. This flexibility is valuable in a low carbon energy system with increasing levels of intermittent renewable generation. The Committee on Climate Change has concluded that “in deeper decarbonisation scenarios (i.e. 50 gCO2/kWh rather than 100 gCO2/kWh) there would be an increasing value to CCS generation relative to nuclear generation, worth around £5/MWh. That reflects the fuel costs that CCS can save when running at lower load factors and potentially higher flexibility, dependent on how CCS technologies develop.”

CCS could also replace some of the 30 GW of power generation provided by coal fired power stations and ageing nuclear plants which will be retired in the next decade.

The Petra Nova coal-fired power plant in Texas is the largest CCS project in the power sector to date, capturing and storing 1.6 million tons of CO2 a year.

CCS and Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a versatile fuel that can be used across power, heating, transport. In the UK, trials are being carried out into blending hydrogen into the gas grid; there are also proposals to convert to 100% hydrogen in the future. Hydrogen can replace fossil fuels in industrial processes, and also be used as a transport fuel. Low carbon hydrogen can be created either through electrolysis using renewable energy, or through traditional Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) with Carbon Capture and Storage. Currently, SMR with CCS is around half the price of hydrogen produced by electrolysis (ZEP, 2017) and can enable production at scale.


Power CCS