Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage, or CCUS, is an important technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. CCUS captures CO2 from various industrial processes and either convert it into useful products or stores it safely underground. CCUS evolved from its predecessor, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, and by reutilizing captured CO2, it enables companies to save energy a second time by completing the first reduction of emissions.
China, the world’s largest energy consumer and CO2 emitter, has also been actively promoting CCUS in recent years. Currently, the Chinese government has incorporated CCUS into the National Plan for Addressing Climate Change (2021-2025) and the 14th Five-Year Plan, and has set up funds, provided financial subsidies, implemented a carbon trading system, and clarified the development goals and key tasks of CCUS demonstration projects.
By the end of 2022, China has almost 100 CCUS demonstrations, half of which have been put into operation, providing a capture capacity of about 4 million tons/year of CO2. At present, the utilization of CO2 in China’s CCUS projects is dominated by geologic utilization. In this sector, ground-leach uranium mining technology has reached the world’s mainstream level. However, the integration of the pipeline network, cluster hub detection and other aspects, subject to the late start of the development and project distribution, still have a gap when compared with the world’s mainstream CCUS level.
Under the premise of the carbon peak target, China’s CCUS emission reduction demand is facing a serious gap, 2025 CCUS emission reduction demand is about 14 million to 31 million tons/year, and in 2030 it will grow to 58 million to 147 million tons/year, and in 2040 and 2050 it will reach 1 billion tons/year and 2 billion tons/year. Overall, there will be a huge demand for CCUS in the next several years.
As a frontrunner in carbon neutralization, European enterprises have started to capture CO2 since the 1990s and tried to inject it into offshore oil and gas fields for storage and press oil out. In 2009, the European Union started to set up a network of demonstration projects for CCS projects (the predecessor of the CCUS, carbon capture and storage), to promote the development and application of CCS through knowledge sharing and mutual learning, as well as financial subsidies. The network then shifted to CCUS in 2019.
European enterprises have an early start applying CCS and CCUS technologies. By 2021, carbon capture capacity in Europe has exceeded 5 million tons/year and is growing at a rate of about 3 million tons/year. European enterprises have advanced experience and achievements in carbon capture technology and have developed a variety of mature carbon capture technology such as solvents-based, adsorbents, membranes, and high-temperature cycle technologies. Europe is also actively exploring carbon utilization technologies, using CO2 to synthesize a wide range of products, such as light olefins, fine chemicals, polymers, and mineral carbonates.
Despite the starting time the difference for Chinese and European enterprises in adapting CCS and CCUS technologies, the demand for emission reduction is the same. Advanced technology and experience from Europe will be able to effectively help Chinese enterprises to avoid the traps on the road to decarbonization, meanwhile Chinese enterprises and market are very supportive for promoting advanced technology.
China Euro Carbon Neutral (CNEUCN) is committed to promoting technical exchanges and cooperation between China and Europe in the field of carbon neutrality. Currently, CNEUCN has established long-term cooperation with a selected group of worldwide well-known leading companies, institutions, and academies to facilitate the dialogue and then the most efficient delivery of holistic solutions. For this purpose, it has established its own Scientific Committee and Experts’ Advisory Board, ensuring a unique “tailor-made” result done by the best professionals and scholars.