Carbon Capture and Storage: Energy Insights Says Collaboration Between Utility Firms and Oil and Gas Companies is Key to Making it Real

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Energy Insights recently released a new report, which looks at the current situation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, and their potential for the future. With energy demand expected to grow by 45% between now and 2030, and with that an increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, CCS is becoming more and more a viable option to achieve sustainability in the near future.

"Increasing energy efficiency and using more renewable and nuclear energy are vital to reduce emissions, but they will not be sufficient to keep up with the increase in global energy demand. Fossil fuels, like it or not, will remain the world's main source of energy for a while," said Roberta Bigliani, EMEA Research Director, Energy Insights. "Indeed, cleaning up fossil fuels is a necessary additional option in the full portfolio of actions that will lead us to a low-carbon future."

What is CCS? Carbon capture and geological storage (CCS) is a technique for trapping CO2 as it is emitted from large point sources, compressing it, and transporting it to a suitable storage site where it is injected into the ground. It has significant potential as a mitigation technique for climate change, both in Europe and internationally, particularly in those countries with a high use of fossil fuels and fast-increasing energy demand.

Why CCS? There are several important considerations that are fundamental in understanding why CCS developments will be crucial for our future sustainability:

- First of all, we cannot reduce the EU's nor the world's CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 with energy efficiency and renewable energy alone.
- The second and foremost reason is that hydrocarbons and fossil fuels will remain the major primary source of energy for at least the next 30 years, after which point natural gas is expected to become the major source of energy for at least another 50 to 100 years.
- As a result, fossil fuels will still contribute to the majority of our energy demands, and we need to find a solution to their byproducts CO2 and other GHG emissions.

Considering the more than 40 gigatons of CO2 emissions expected by 2030, CCS needs to be one of the solutions taken into consideration, as it has significant potential as a mitigation technique for climate change. As energy demand grows in developing countries, so will CO2 emissions, and by 2030 97% of the projected increase in emissions is expected to be produced by non-OECD countries - three-quarters from China, India, and the Middle East alone.

The main conclusion drawn by Energy Insights is that less expensive mitigation options are not enough to curb emissions and CCS needs to be part of the portfolio of options to mitigate global climate change and satisfy energy demand.

In order to make CCS a reality, Energy Insights states collaboration between utility firms and oil and gas companies is key and a joint and coordinated effort of industry players including technology manufacturers, academia, NGOs, and governments is required.

This Energy Insights report, Carbon Capture and Storage: A Case for Action (Doc #EIRS01R9 / Mar 2009), by Roberta Bigliani and Gaia Gallotti, lays out why it is important to examine CCS more closely, the regulatory framework in place to help sustain and develop the technology, and the various pilots and projects that are currently taking place to test and deliver results on the technology. In the second part of this document, Energy Insights identifies the barriers to and drivers of CCS, potential and perspectives for CCS in the future, and the steps that still need to be taken to make the technology a reality. Finally, Energy Insights provides Essential Guidance on what is needed to make CCS a reality.

About Energy Insights

Energy Insights, an IDC company, is a leading global provider of research-based advisory and consulting services to the energy and utilities industry. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry-specific business and technology experience, Energy Insights provides full coverage of the energy industry value chain - from upstream to retail activities. Energy Insights provides a portfolio of offerings that are relevant to both IT and business needs. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company.
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