Worldwide deployment of carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) technology needs to accelerate by as much as 120 times current rates of outlay, if the planet is to reach global Net Zero is to be met by 2050, a leading management consultancy advises.

McKinsey’s first study of CCUS calculates spending of $130 billion on CCUS each year is needed if Paris-aligned climate goals are to be met by mid-century

CCUS has the potential to decarbonize 45% of remaining emissions from carbon-intensive industries ranging from cement to steel production, according to the firm’s new paper,  ‘Scaling the CCUS industry to achieve Net Zero emissions’

As many as 25,000 carbon-emitting plants and factories stand to benefit, say the consultants, with captured carbon offering to provide new, safer feedstock, making everything from cement to plastics, polyurethane to construction aggregates,.

But governments and corporations must collaborate closer to have any hope of exploiting CCUS at the pace needed.  Forming cross-sector clusters to share costs of large infrastructure such as pipeline networks and pumps, should be priorities, McKinsey suggest.

Small-scale CCUS trials, and lots of them, can help in reducing deployment risk and costs, the paper advises.   Subsidies may continue to be needed, but the firm argues that astute roll-out of taxation reliefs and research funding mean they might be dropped earlier than expected.

In October 2017, Theresa May’s government set out the UK government’s first approach to CCUS in the Clean Growth Strategy.   Possible business models for the technology were outlined this July, when the government increased the initial £1 billion allotted to its CCUS Infrastructure Fund,    In April, D-BEIS published an investor road map to the technology.

Last week the United Nations’ Environment Programme declared that current rates of carbon emissions set the planet on course to 2.8 degrees of heating by 2100, overshooting the preferred 2 degrees ceiling of the 2015 Paris Accords.

“CCUS is still seen by many as a waste-disposal service for CO2, McKinsey partner Luciano Di Fiori said.

“But it could be a potential feedstock for a wide range of essential materials. The industry could also target high-end consumer segments willing to pay more for sustainable products or use CCUS to help companies obtain lucrative negative-emissions credits for sale in voluntary carbon markets.”

Read the full McKinsey paper here.


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