We saw some big moves in 2021. While we continued to grapple with the COVID pandemic, and continue to do so as we enter 2022, there were some bold, inspirational moves for large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS/CCUS) and carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction initiatives in many regions of the world, especially in Canada. Let’s recap.
Early in 2021, the Canadian Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) saw new light and the International CCS Knowledge Centre (Knowledge Centre) looked at what it means for CCS (read more here). While the mechanics of the CFS is still under development, and remains as complex as ever, after a five-year delay it was exciting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Final regulations are expected to come into effect at the end of 2022 (targeted date is December 1).
Government CCUS Funding Support
Big news was seen not just in Canada, but also around the world – CCS appeared to be a 2021 buzz word! The United Kingdom (UK) announced it was moving forward with carbon capture cluster sequencing consultations.i In its March budget, it announced £800 (US$1 billion [B]) for a CCS infrastructure fund.ii In Norway, CCS techniques have been utilized for nearly a quarter of a century (since 1996), and in early 2021 its parliament approved 70% (US$2.6 B) funding for its Longship project.iii The Australian government also announced CCUS business development grants of up to $25 million for pilot projects or pre-commercial projects aimed at reducing its CO2 emissions.iv
Meanwhile, China also shared its 14th five-year plan early in 2021, which set a 18% reduction target for ‘CO2 intensity’ and introduced the idea of a cap on CO2 emissions.v SINOPEC’S Qilu Petrochemicals announced that the construction of China’s first full-chain CCUS project, a hydrogen production unit, was 80% complete.vi China also launched the world’s largest carbon trading market for the power sector, with over 2000 power sector enterprises participating, with a total of 179 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 changing hands.vii
Continuous Steps and CCS Milestones
To further study the performance of post-combustion CCS systems, the Knowledge Centre engaged with the University of Regina to complete a Continuous Online Analysis of Amine Solvents Using Gas Chromatography. Specifically, the study looked at the degradation of amine solvent chemistry using an online system allowing for continuous results in real time. Findings from this study were presented at the 15th International Conference on Greenhouse (GHGT-15) Gas Control in March 2021. These continuous steps forward create significant progress and inspiration for future CCS initiatives, and we were so proud to share that SaskPower’s ground-breaking Boundary Dam 3 (BD3) CCS Facility had reached a 4 Mt milestone.viii This was great news for us here at the Knowledge Centre given the extensive history our team has with the BD3 facility.
Sinking CCS in Canada’s Budget
On April 19, Canada’s Budget 2021 was announced. For the first time ever, CCS was specifically mentioned. Given the critical role we know CCS will need to play in order for Canada to achieve its Paris targets, of which were further pushed to 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030; this was a big, bold move.ix This Budget introduced an investment tax credit (ITC) for capital invested in CCUS projects with a goal of 15 Mt, and in true Knowledge Centre fashion, we polled our stakeholders and shared what we learned to support industry through the 90-day consultation period.
April showers bring more than May flowers, and the Knowledge Centre published a Canada’s CO2 Landscape report, a guided map for sources and sinks. A CCS network requires geological storage for CO2. While not all storage formations offer the same potential, Canada is fortunate to have more than 10,000 years’ worth of identified storage potential. According to the CO2 Storage Resource Cataloguex, which has compiled global storage potential, Canada’s sum of its storage resources is 398 gigatonnes (Gt) in deep subterrain geological formations, known as basins. Following this publication, the Knowledge Centre announced it would collaborate with an international team to examine the viability of regional commercial-scale geologic CO2 storage hub in the Southeastern United States (US).xi
Roadmaps & Collaboration are Key
Countries around the world renewed their climate targets during the US Earth Day Climate Summit hosted by President Joe Bidden and Vice-President Kamala Harris.xii With the US back in the Paris Agreement fold, spring also saw a wave of climate reports emerge. The International Energy Agency (IEA) published its Net Zero by 2050 Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, and the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change published its Roadmap, supporting deployment of CCS. The Global CCS Institute (GCCSI) published a variety of reports, from the publications on: Technology Readiness and Costs of CCS, to Financing CCS in Developing Counties, and CCS in the Circular Carbon Economy: Policy and Regulatory Recommendations.xiii While reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a global issue, and one where countries around the globe have set ambitious reduction targets, one thing is clear, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
When it comes to collaboration, the Knowledge Centre believes it’s a key ingredient to seeing greater emission reductions a reality. So, in July, we announced a new collaboration with the China Building Materials Academy (CBMA) as part of a bilateral science and technology cooperation between Canada and China – the China-Canada Science & Technology Cooperative Action Plan.xiv Through this agreement, we aim to see simultaneous advancements in understanding and knowledge sharing for carbon capture technology designed specifically to see substantial emission reductions from the global cement industry.
CCS on Cement in focus
Speaking of cement, the Knowledge Centre concluded the feasibility study on the Lehigh Hanson Materials Limited Cement Plant (Lehigh) in Edmonton, Alberta. (Stay tuned for the public release of the Lehigh Edmonton CCS Feasibility Study.) Feasibility studies such as this, whether on a cement, steel, or chemical plants are an important component on the path to carbon capture projects. Major capital projects, such as those required to construct large-scale CCS facilities require several stages of approval by the owner/decision maker to proceed to a final investment decision. Each of these steps require additional investment and results in reducing the uncertainty regarding project risk, cost, scope, and schedule. We can’t stress this enough so… we wrote about it and published our Need for FEED document.
‘It’s getting hot in here’
Summer brought more than just warmer temperatures, it brought a wave of announcements for CCS, especially in Alberta, Canada. The province underscored its commitment to Canada’s 2030 and 2050 targets by publicly announcing it would substantially reduce its major sources of industrial emissions with large-scale CCS. While Alberta has a track record of leadership in clean fossil fuel energy innovation, to help manage the growth of large-scale CCS in the province. The government has opted to manage the disposition of its pore space through a Carbon Sequestration Tenure Management Framework. With a goal of doubling its already ongoing emissions reduction contribution of 30 Mt to 60 Mt or more, and a motivated industrial sector willing to capitalize on bringing together their needs and cluster infrastructure into hub opportunities. Alberta is on the cusp of a new wave of full chain CCS.xv This was seen through the announcement of the Pathways to Net Zero Initiative by the Oilsands, the Alberta Carbon Grid announced by Pembina and TC Energy, and the Shell Polaris CCS project.
Timing is Everything
Large infrastructure hub projects which include CCS facilities or pipeline networks, usually take seven to 10 years from the conceptual study through feasibility, design, construction, then operation – see our timeline to deployment published in our Whitepaper, which was also supported in the recent global status 2021 report by the GCCSI. xvi
With new ambitious targets set for Canada, a summit organized by The Energy Roundtable, took place in London, UK, where discussions focused on accelerating cleaner energy adoption in Canada and the UK.xvii The event was hosted in partnership with the Canadian High Commission in London and the British Government, with High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Ralph Goodale, providing the opening remarks. Watch for more collaboration with the UK in 2022!
Falling into winter, for two weeks, we, and the world, watched as global leaders took a hard stance on climate change at the 26th annual Conference of the Parties (COP26). Intense negotiations among almost 200 countries resulted in the signing of the Glasgow Climate Pact. The results, reaffirming Paris Agreement goals with renewed urgency, calling for a phase-down of unabated coal power and a phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, delivering on climate finance, and stepping up support for adaptation.xviii
In the spirit of collaboration, we saw a surprise announcement come from two of the world’s biggest emitters. The US and China signed a deal to strengthen their cooperation on climate action and accelerate emissions cuts this decade.xix The US also passed a major Infrastructure and Jobs Act, making way for billions of dollars to support decarbonization efforts while creating and protecting against the worst impacts of climate change.xx Similarly, the European Union showed that “we are moving from climate ambition to action” with over €1B being invested in seven projects, four of which include CO2 storage value chains.xxi
CCS/CCUS in the New Year
As we move into 2022, what does it mean for CCS on the near horizon? For Canada, its clarity for its CCUS Strategy and incentives like the CFS and ITC. In the US, we’ll see more climate legislation debated and passed. While the US Build Back Better Act has hit a snag, you can be sure that with $555B in climate spending expected through grants, tax breaks, and carbon capture on fossil fuel power plants, the bill will survive.
In 2022, the Knowledge Centre is excited to be involved with a potential Canada-UK CCS + hydrogen (H2) initiatives. Stay tuned for details. With alignment on many common climate goals, especially around CCUS, collaborating and sharing our expertise to drive more carbon capture solutions as we strive to achieve substantial emission reductions is an exciting opportunity.
CCUS also seems to be gaining traction in China, having been included in its national carbon mitigation strategies and in its nationally determined contribution. However, there is still work to be done as it continues to develop its legal and policy frameworks and market incentives to overcome barriers in order to further advance CCS deployment.
Following a flurry of CCS activity in 2021, it is clear that big things will surely follow in 2022.
i Clyde &Co. (2021) “The UK moves forward on carbon capture clusters and project models” https://www.clydeco.com/en/insights/2021/02/the-uk-moves-forward-on-carbon-capture-clusters-an
ii The Chemical Engineer. (2020) “UK confirms £800m for carbon capture clusters“ https://www.thechemicalengineer.com/news/uk-confirms-800m-for-carbon-capture-clusters/
iii IHS Markit. (2021) ”Norway, Equinor back blue hydrogen as Longship CCS advances” https://cleanenergynews.ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/norway-equinor-back-blue-hydrogen-as-longship-ccs-advances.html
iv Australian Government. (2021) ”Funding for carbon capture, use and storage pilot projects or pre-commercial projects aimed at reducing emissions” Carbon Capture Use and Storage Development Fund | business.gov.au
v Carbon Brief. (2021) “Q&A: What does China’s 14th ‘five year plan’ mean for climate change?” https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-what-does-chinas-14th-five-year-plan-mean-for-climate-change
vi DayDayNews. (2021) ”Construction works around the clock! 80% of my country’s first megaton CCUS project has been completed” https://daydaynews.cc/en/constellation/construction-works-around-the-clock-80-of-my-countrys.html
vii SCMP. (2022) ”China’s emissions trading market likely to see expansion, rising carbon price in 2022, say analysts” https://www.scmp.com/business/china-business/article/3162702/chinas-emissions-trading-market-likely-see-expansion-rising
viii SaskPower (2021) ”SaskPower CCS Facility Achieves 4 Million Tonnes of CO2 Captured” https://www.saskpower.com/about-us/media-information/news-releases/2021/SaskPower-CCS-facility-achieves-4--million-tonnes-of-CO2-captured
ix Prime Minister of Canada (2021) ”Prime Minister Trudeau announces increased climate ambition” https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2021/04/22/prime-minister-trudeau-announces-increased-climate-ambition
x Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (2021) “CO2 Storage Resource Catalogue” https://www.ogci.com/co2-storage-resource-catalogue/
xi International CCS Knowledge Centre (2021) ”Pre-feasibility Study Looking to Progress CO2 Capture” https://ccsknowledge.com/news/pre-feasibility-study-looking-to-progress-co2-capture
xii CNBC. (2021) ”Here’s what countries pledged on climate change at Biden’s global summit” https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/22/biden-climate-summit-2021-what-brazil-japan-canada-others-pledged.html
xiii Global CCS Institute (2021) ”Policy Factsheet - Global Status of CCS 2021” https://www.globalccsinstitute.com/resources/publications-reports-research/
xiv International CCS Knowledge Centre (2021) ”China-Canada Collaboration on CO2 Capture for Cement” https://ccsknowledge.com/news/china-canada-collaboration-on-co2-capture-for-cement
xv International CCS Knowledge Centre (2021) ”Alberta - A Renewed Momentum for CCS in Canada https://ccsknowledge.com/blog/alberta--a-renewed-momentum-for-ccs-in-canada
xvi Global CCS Institute (2021) ”Global Status of CCS 2021” https://www.globalccsinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/2021-Global-Status-of-CCS-Report_Global_CCS_Institute.pdf
xvii The Energy Roundtable (2021) ”Energy in Transition: The Road to Glasgow” https://energyroundtable.org/london/
xviii United Nations (2021) COP26: Together for our planet https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/cop26
xix Climate Home News (2021) ”China-US announce deal at Cop 26 to accelerate climate action this decade“ https://www.climatechangenews.com/2021/11/10/china-us-announce-deal-cop26-accelerate-climate-action-decade/
xx Clean Air Task Force (2021) Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Acts passes House, clearing billions for criticial carbon-free technology https://www.catf.us/2021/11/infrastructure-investment-and-jobs-act-passes-house-clearing-billions-for-critical-carbon-free-technology/
xxi Clean Air Task Force (2021) ”EU invests over 1billion in projects with focus on industrial decarbonisation” https://www.catf.us/2021/11/eu-industrial-decarbonisation-innovation-fun/