Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) – status quo?

Our figure of the month 06/2024


In February of this year, the German government adopted a carbon management strategy that regulates the storage (CCS) and use (CCU) of CO2 for the first time. The background to this is the realization that in certain sectors, CO2 neutrality can only be achieved by capturing, storing and/or reusing CO2. This is particularly the case in some branches of industry, such as the cement industry, where two thirds of CO2 emissions are generated during the burning process of the raw material (cement clinker).

Due to the long unresolved legal situation regarding the use of CCS/CCU plants in Germany, there are currently no technologies in operation that can capture CO2 or transport or store CO2 on a large scale. Germany is therefore at the very beginning of the implementation of the Carbon Management Strategy.

According to the project lists of the International Energy Agency, there are mainly CCS/CCU projects in planning in Germany to date. Only one project for storing CO2 is already under construction – none is in operation. The majority of the planned projects relate to the transportation of CO2. Just 25% of the planned capacities relate to projects for the storage or use of CO2. Most of the projects are due to be completed by 2030. It can therefore be assumed that around 63 Mt of CO2 per year will be stored, used or transported by 2030.

The projects planned and currently under construction for capturing, storing, reusing and transporting CO2 account for around 10 percent of the CO2 emitted by economic sectors in 2019. From today's perspective, the contribution of CCS/CCU technologies to achieving CO2 neutrality is therefore likely to be small. As the German government is assuming a ramp-up in the use of the technology in Germany by 2030, there is still a lot to be done, particularly in the area of infrastructure, but it should be possible to achieve this due to the limited number of users. The question of whether the expected high investment and operating costs of the systems will also be worthwhile for users remains to be seen.

Other figures can be found here.

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