International Journal of Clean Coal and Energy, 2013, 2, 23-24 Published Online August 2013 (
Carbon Capture and Storage: A Challenging Approach
for Mitigation of Gl obal Warming
Hai Yu
CSIRO Energy Technology, Canberra, Australia
Received May 20, 2013; revised June 23, 2013; accepted July 1, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Hai Yu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted use, distri bu ti on, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere by
fossil fuel combustion is the most significant greenhouse
gas contributing to climate change. Use of coal alone ac-
counts for 43% of global CO2 emission in 2010. As the
most abundant, the most reliable and cheap energy
source, coal will continue to play a significant ro le in the
world’s economy and improving people’s standard of
living in particular in the developing countries. With the
strong demand for coal, there is no doubt that the CO2
emissions will continue to rise. On May 9, 2013, the
daily mean concentration of carbon dioxide in the at-
mosphere of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, surpassed 400 ppm for
the first time since measurements began in 1958. The
rate of increase is ca 2.1 ppm per year during the last 10
years. Without significant reduction of CO2 emissions, it
is unlikely to limit the long-term concentration of green-
house gasses to 450 ppm CO2 by 2050.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a process CO2 is
separated from large point sources, including fossil fuel
power plants, and transported to a disposal site, normally
an underground geological formation, for permanent
storage. It is generally agreed that CCS is the only tech-
nology available to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas
emissions while still using fossil fuels and much of to-
day’s energy infrastructure. According to the Interna-
tional Energy Agency (IEA), CCS will account for 19%
of total emissions reduction if the global CO2 emissions
are halved by 2050. However, looking back, there has
been great uncertainty surrounding the commercial im-
plementation of CCS technologies. Despite the fact that
all the necessary components of CCS process are com-
mercially available, the question about the large scale
CO2 storage remains. The progress towards the commer-
cial deployment of CCS technologies is slow.
A number of factors contribute to a slow progress of
CCS development. Firstly, the CCS projects are very
costly. Most studies estimate that CCS will add more than
50% to the cost of electricity from coal. The costs for the
first commercial CCS plants will be much higher than the
following projects. No one wants to take the risk to be the
first one. Secondly, CCS depends on the political polices
to drive it. There is no a lega lly binding agree ment on the
emissions reduction applied to all countries and there is no
market for CCS. Last but not the least, CCS depends on
the government support. In an unfavourably financial
environment, the R & D spending is expected to decline.
Recently Australian government has announced a budget
cut of $500 million over three years to its national CCS
flagship program, almost one third of the total funding
from the federal government. The Australia’s opposition
party has even pledged to abolish the ca rbon tax if elected
in September 2013.
So, what is the future for CCS? It is a difficult questio n
to answer. A critical issue is who is going to pay for the
development of CCS. It should be pointed out that the
majority of the upcoming projects use captured CO2 for
enhanced oil recovery. The reason for that is EOR can
facilitate the development of CCS by improving the fi-
nancial viability of the CCS, building the infrastructure
required for CCS, and developing capability along the
supply chain. An increase in EOR projects reflexes the
importance of CO2 utilisation. Carbon Capture, Utilisation
and Storage (CCUS) is gaining increased attention in
particular in USA and China. It is unlik ely for the devel-
oping counties to deploy the CCS technologies with fi-
nancial support from the governm ent alone. In these coun-
tries the priorities are to sustain the economic growth and
improve people’s living standard. To move CCS forward,
it is important to realise the challenges facing the CCS
development and make appropriate adjustment based on
the political and economic realities. Considering that the
funding on the development of CCS is limited, the inter-
national R & D p r og ram needs to be well c o or di nat ed and
have the right focus and the right scale to avoid unpro-
ductive overlap between demonstration projects and en-
sure that limited resources are sp en t wisely to achiev e th e
highest benefits.
As a researcher working on CO2 capture, I am glad to
opyright © 2013 SciRes. IJCCE
see the increasing number of papers in CCS published in
the international journals and more and more submissions
come from developing countries. From a research point of
view, I think it is important to continue research to further
reduce the cost s for CO2 ca pture a nd risks ass ociated with
CO2 storage. It is also important to explore opportunities
to utilise the captured CO2 to improve the economic vi-
ability of the CCS technologies. The path of technological
developm ent has nev er been easy and straigh tforward. We
may face a few years of slow progress but once the de-
monstration projects get underway, this will regenerate
the interest in CCS or CCUS as a global mitigation option.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. IJCCE