12.5 Takeaways: where is CCS best used?


The move from targeting GHG reductions to aiming for net-zero considerably changes the nature of the challenge of CCUS, as anything but complete avoidance or capture of GHG emissions must be compensated through net negative-emission efforts somewhere else. Capture for reuse, either through oil-enhanced recovery, vegetable production or synthetic fuel, is no longer sufficient since any of these strategies requires the addition of negative-emission technologies that increase their cost. CCS is therefore largely favoured over CCU.

In fact, the modeling results and the analysis presented in the previous paragraphs suggest that, as discussed previously, on-site CCS will first and foremost be applied to industrial processes for which CO2 production is largely unavoidable, as well as to biomass-based heat, hydrogen or power production where the net impact on emissions is largely negative. In the results presented in Part 2 of this Outlook, BECCS is also largely often preferred to DAC when aiming for negative emissions, as the latter has no output except for the gas captured. In contrast, BECCS results in either electricity or hydrogen production, or in industrial output when applied in industrial heat generation. 

Accordingly, from an energy and life-cycle perspective, the constraints of net-zero mean that CCS will be reserved mainly for primary energy production, including biomass-based electricity production, enhanced-oil recovery and net-zero blue hydrogen, where production can be cost-competitive with respect to green hydrogen. It will also be used for biomass-based negative-emissions technologies, although the net advantage of this approach will need to be validated by analyzing real-life, industrial-size sites that are yet to be built. Irrespective of these results, CCS is unlikely to play a significant role in favouring the extensive deployment of baseload coal and gas power plants.