To limit global warming to two degrees celsius, 140 billion tonnes of CO2 must be captured and stored between 2020 and 2060.
CCUS is essential
CCUS is essential to achieve global climate change mitigation targets. Analysis by the International Energy Agency, the International Panel on Climate Change and others conclude that the lowest cost pathway to deep reductions in global emissions requires the deployment of a portfolio of low emission technologies including CCUS. To limit global warming to two degrees celsius, 140 billion tonnes of CO2 must be captured and stored between 2020 and 2060.
Australia’s economy and wealth are underpinned by access to abundant fossil fuel resources. Our export of fossil fuels remains a significant proportion of government revenue. While it is transitioning, the power generation sector is currently also dominated by fossil fuels. There are strategic reasons to use CCUS to ensure that fossil fuel industries have a continued licence to operate and contribute to Australia’s economy.
Decarbonising Australia’s electricity system at lowest cost while continuing to meet reliability standards requires dispatchable, low emissions generation capacity that provides grid reliability and security of supply to support intermittent renewables. CCUS on gas or coal fired generation meets those requirements.
CCUS is versatile
CCUS is the only feasible technology that can deliver deep emissions reductions in many industrial processes that are vital to the global economy, such as LNG, steel, cement and chemicals production. CCUS can also be applied to coal and gas fired power plants, providing dispatchable low emissions generation capacity to complement the increased deployment of intermittent renewable energy sources, and in the production of low emissions hydrogen for heat and transport.
Production of clean hydrogen from methane or coal with CCUS provides a further pathway for the decarbonisation of industry. This is the lowest cost method for clean hydrogen production. Clean hydrogen production using electrolysis uses 25 times more electricity than steam methane reforming with CCUS and 12 times more electricity than coal gasification with CCUS. Clean hydrogen production from fossil fuels with CCUS is also mature at commercial scale. Today there are four facilities in operation and two under construction that produce clean hydrogen from fossil fuels with CCUS at large scale (200 to 1,300 tonnes of hydrogen per day).
As Australia reduces CO2 emissions, CCUS can protect and create more skilled and high value jobs in communities and regions with strengths in production of traditional sources of energy. One example is the Latrobe Valley in Victoria which has the potential to host a new low emissions industrial hub, servicing an international market that will increasingly value low emissions products.