CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2013
The author is in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, National
Institute of Technology, Rourkela 769 008, India.
Carbon capture and storage: an effective way
to mitigate global warming
Ever since industrialization occurred, there has been an increase in the burning of fossil fuels to
meet the high energy demands. The use of such fuels causes emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and
other greenhouse gases which lead to global warming. Such a warming may have a highly injurious
impact to life on Earth. One way to alleviate this is to reduce the use of such fuels. An alternative
method is to capture and store the emitted CO2 to stop it from polluting the atmosphere. This is
known as carbon capture and storage. This study discusses the methods and economics associated
with the same.
Keywords: Carbon capture and storage, climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases.
MOST industries and power stations today are dependent
upon the exploitation of fossil fuels, i.e. coal, oil and
natural gas to meet their demands. While these energy
sources are able to meet the needs to a large extent, they
have various problems associated with them. The afore-
said fuels are all hydrocarbons and primarily release car-
bon dioxide (CO2) on combustion.
Apart from CO2, these fuels are also known to emit
other gases such as methane, oxides of sulphur, oxides of
nitrogen and carbon monoxide, to name a few. These
gases, which allow the incoming solar radiation to pass
through but do not allow the trapped heat to escape, are
known as greenhouse gases (GHGs). These gases, in the
right proportions are necessary for human survival on
planet Earth. However, their excessive release causes rise
of temperatures on Earth. This process is known as global
Over the last 100 years, global mean surface tempera-
ture has increased by 0.74 ± 0.18°C. Moreover, the rate
of warming over the last 50 years (0.13 ± 0.02°C per dec-
ade) is double that over the last 100 years (0.07 ± 0.02°C
per decade)1. Figure 1 shows this warming very effec-
tively. This rise is alarming as it could lead to widespread
melting of polar ice-caps which might result in submerg-
ing of low-lying areas.
This crisis can be solved by reducing the current en-
ergy thrust on fossil fuels and shifting to unconventional
sources of energy. However, such sources have a high
establishment cost, are location-dependent and their pric-
ing has not been competitive enough. Hence, if we are to
meet the 8–9% economic growth, drastic cuts in fossil
fuel usage cannot be considered feasible. This is because
no country in history has improved its level of human
development index without corresponding increase in per
capita use of energy2. This has been shown in Figure 2.
Nevertheless, efforts to reduce CO2 emissions have been
undertaken. The maximum potential to reduce is present
in five sectors, viz. power, energy-intensive industry,
transport and habitats, forestry and agriculture3. It is a
myth that these reductions are low cost. However,
according to the MARKAL model, the undiscounted
incremental energy system costs are US$ 800 billion and
the undiscounted energy system costs are in excess of
US$ 1 trillion for CO2 reduction of 30% (ref. 2). Even
then, these reductions may not prove to be enough given
the harm that human civilization has already caused to
Martin Rees writes in the Foreword of the report
‘Geoengineering the climate’4, that if the reductions
achieve too little, too late, there will surely be pressure to
consider a ‘Plan B’, which will involve counteracting
the effects of GHG emissions through geoengineering.
Geoengineering refers to modification of a planet’s natu-
ral environment through various technologies to counter-
act anthropogenic climatic change. Geoengineering is
based on two planks4.
• Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) techniques which
remove CO2 from the atmosphere, which involve
several methods including enhancing CO2 sinks, the
use of biomass for carbon sequestration, use of natural
weathering processes to reduce CO2 in air, etc.
• Solar radiation management (SRM) techniques that
reflect a small percentage of the Sun’s light and heat
back into space.
Carbon capture and storage technology, which is one of
several carbon sequestration methods, is an innovative
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2013 915
Figure 1. Rise in global mean temperatures from 1961 to 1990. Notice the steep curve of green than the
red clearly indicating that the rate of warming is increasing per decade. (Source: ref. 1.)
Figure 2. An international comparison between human development index and per-capita energy
consumption (in KgoE). Source: World Development Indicators Database (adapted from ref. 2).
method to mitigate global warming and the primary focus
of this study. As the name suggests, in this method, CO2
emitted from thermal power plants and CO2 intensive
industries is captured and stored in various reservoirs to
lessen their polluting impact on the atmosphere. CCS is
therefore hailed as the technology of the future. As our
dependence on fossil fuels is not expected to decline
radically in the near future, CCS can provide an excellent
transition from conventional to non-conventional
methods of generating power, such as solar power, wind
power, geothermal energy, etc. CCS is referred to as
‘fictitious reduction’, since there is no decrease in the
emission of CO2 from the Earth, but the polluting impact
The entire process involves three processes: capture,
transport and storage of the CO2. These methods have been
discussed in this article. In the later half of the article, the
economic factors associated with CCS have also been
discussed. Figure 3 shows the various steps.
Capture of the CO2
The first step of CCS is to separate CO2 from other gase-
ous substances since the chimney smoke in power-plants
contains only 10–12% CO2. This process is known as
carbon capture. Technologically, this is considered to be
the most difficult part of the entire CCS mechanism.
Also, carbon capture happens to be an expensive process
as per the current developments. Capturing CO2 can be
achieved using three following methods.
The post-combustion separation method involves separa-
tion of CO2 from the flue gas emitted from thermal power
plants. This involves chemical adsorption of the gas in a
solvent. For instance, certain amines such as monoetha-
nolamine or ammonia (using the chilled ammonia pro-
cess) can be used as solvent5. Fuel gas is passed through
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2013
Figure 3. Carbon capture and storage schematic. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
Figure 4. Overview of CO2 capture processes and systems. Source: ref. 5.
the solvent at relatively low temperatures of about 40–
50°C and then the CO2 is obtained by regeneration of the
solvent at temperatures of more than 100°C. The energy
penalty for this method is regeneration of the solvent6.
Oxyfuel separation is the scientifically most advanced
way of CO2 capture. Whenever a fuel such as coal, oil or
natural gas is burnt in air, the emitted CO2 combines with
other components of air including nitrogen whose com-
position in air is about 78%. The oxyfuel separation
method thus involves filling of the entire combustion
chamber with almost-pure oxygen and hence the emission
obtained is almost entirely CO2. This is done using an air
separation unit (ASU), which works on the cryogenic
principle. The energy penalty in this method is in the
working of the ASU6.
Pre-combustion separation involves gasification of the
fuel such as coal. The fuel is reacted with steam so as to
convert it to carbon monoxide and hydrogen. This mixture
is known as synthesis gas (syngas) mixture.
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2013 917
C + H2O → CO + H2
Carbon Steam Carbon monoxide Hydrogen
This mixture is then again reacted with steam to form
carbon dioxide and hydrogen in a reaction known as the
‘water-gas shift’ reaction.
CO + H2O → CO2 + H2
Carbon monoxide Steam Carbon dioxide Hydrogen
Carbon dioxide so formed is captured and the hydrogen
obtained in the above two steps is used as a clean fuel.
For further reading on CO2 capture, the reader may refer
to refs 7–12. Figure 4 illustrates through a flowchart, all
the capture mechanisms involved.
After CO2 has been captured by any of the aforesaid
methods, it needs to be transported to the storage site.
This can be done in several ways – pipelines, boats, rail-
ways or trucks. It is suggested that the initial pilot pro-
jects may involve transportation through trucks or boats,
but it may prove to be costly when done on large-scale.
Therefore, pipeline transportation is considered to be
The pipelines used must be of good quality as any
compromise with it may lead to CO2 leak, which is dis-
cussed later. Of course, carbon dioxide is not combustible
like natural gas, which is rather inflammable. So, CO2
transportation is more of an economic rather than a tech-
After the captured CO2 has been transported to a potential
storage site, it needs to be stored. The CO2 may be stored
in geological formations or oceans. The choice of the
storage site depends upon the CO2 storage potential and
cost-effectiveness. CO2 storage in oceans was initially
conceived as a possible option, but due to very high envi-
ronmental risks, it is no longer considered one13.
Geological sites for sequestration of CO2
Geological method of CO2 sequestration is scientifically
the most discussed and popular topic. Geologically, CO2
may be stored in basalt formations, deep saline aquifers,
unmineable coal seams and depleted hydrocarbon reser-
Basalt is a volcanic rock composed of silicates of metals
such as aluminum, iron and calcium which can combine
with CO2 to form carbonate minerals. They are very good
for storage of CO2 as they can isolate it from the atmos-
phere for a very long period. The advantages of storing
CO2 in basalt formations are enormous, some of them
• Basalts provide solid cap rocks and thus high level of
integrity for CO2 storage.
• Basalts react with CO2 and convert the CO2 into
mineral carbonates which provide high level of secu-
• Tectonically, the traps are considered to be stable.
Deep saline aquifers
Saline aquifers refer to water reservoirs which are not a
source of potable water due to their saline nature. They
are considered to be one of the best storage sites as they
have a huge potential for storage of CO2 and also due to
their geographical ubiquity15.
Unmineable coal seams
Unmineable coal seams offer a very attractive and seem-
ingly profitable method of storing CO2. Coal contains
adsorbed methane which is extracted by depressurizing
coal seams as a result of pumping out water. This is
known as coalbed methane and is an excellent fuel. How-
ever, at deeper depths such recovery is not economically
feasible. Thus, the captured CO2 can be injected in such
seams, which improves methane recovery. This is known
as enhanced coalbed methane recovery (CO2–ECBM). It
is seen that the injection of CO2 not only improves meth-
ane extraction, but also helps to make the adsorption of
CO2 much more rapid16.
Depleted oil and gas reserves
The depleted oil and natural gas reserves are another
potential storage location for CO2. Here, CO2 is injected
into such depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs which improves
recovery of the hydrocarbons. This method known as
enhanced oil recovery (CO2–EOR), if developed well,
will be of great use in areas such as Europe and India
which do not have an extensive reserve of oil and natural
gas. A study estimates that in a high price scenario, the
annual incremental oil production could reach 180 mil-
lion barrels and around 60 million tonnes of CO2 could be
stored annually with the help of CO2–EOR17.
It is noteworthy that while basalt and saline aquifers do
not provide any added benefit except storage, unmineable
coal seams and depleted hydrocarbon reserves offer more
efficient extraction of energy resources and thus are
likely to be tried out earlier.
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2013
Geological storage potential of CO2: India and
The exact global storage potential is difficult to deter-
mine, given the wide variety of geological formations
around the world, a number of which remain unidentified.
However, it can emphatically be stated that there is a
huge potential for CO2 storage worldwide. An estimate of
the global sequestration potential in geological forma-
tions suggests that CO2 storage potential is of the follow-
• Deep saline formations: 102 to 103 Gt of CO2.
• Depleted oil and gas reserves: 102 Gt of CO2.
• Coal seams: 101 Gt of CO2.
According to IPCC, there are about 2000 Gt of likely CO2
storage in geological formations5. This includes 675–
900 Gt of CO2 in oil and gas fields, 1000– ~ 10,000 Gt of
CO2 in saline formations and 3–200 Gt in coal beds.
This is a considerably large figure given that the
annual CO2 emissions add up to 33.5 Gt in 2010 (Global-
CarbonProject.org)18. Further, it is expected to decrease if
further changes take place in terms of proportions of fos-
sil fuel usage. Figure 5 demonstrates the CO2 emissions
in various scenarios. The figure illustrates that alternative
policies and better efficiencies for existing fossil fuels
could provide 16% mitigation from CO2 emissions as
compared to business-as-usual till 2030.
The two most commonly cited studies with respect to
geological storage potential of CO2 in India are Singh et
al.19 and Holloway et al.20. A few other studies have been
conducted as well. The following two major studies give
widely varying results.
• Singh et al.19 state that there is a storage potential of
572 Gt of CO2.
• In contrast, Holloway et al.20 suggests a much lower
potential of only 68 Gt of CO2.
The major cause for this discrepancy is that while both
studies suggest almost equal storage potential for coal-
Figure 5. Annual CO2 emissions in various scenarios. (Source: IEA
World Energy Outlook39).
fields and oil and gas reserves, the former indicates a
storage potential of 360 Gt of CO2 in saline aquifers,
which the latter estimates to be only about 59 Gt. The lat-
ter study gives no estimation for storage in basalt forma-
tions. Other widely varying data also exist.
The CCS global study21 carried out by the Wuppertal
Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy has com-
piled the two above studies and another study by Dooley
et al.22 (Table 1).
It is noteworthy that all such estimates are just indica-
tors. Widely contradictory views also exist. Narain23 sug-
gests that CO2 storage sites are not restricted by geo-
graphy or geology, while Doig24 states that there are by
no means enough CO2 storage sites in Indian geological
formations. Thus, a much greater degree of research
needs to be carried out in this area.
Industrial usage of CO2
Carbon dioxide is an important chemical for several
industries and has numerous industrial applications. In
fact, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and enhanced coalbed
methane recovery (ECBM) are considered as industrial
applications by many. Apart from these, the other impor-
tant areas of CO2 usage are urea fertilizer production,
food packaging and processing, beverage carbonation,
pharmaceuticals, fire suppression, winemaking, paper and
pulp processing, water treatment, steel manufacturing,
etc. Prospective areas of CO2 usage include polymer
processing, concrete curing, algal bio-fixation, renewable
methanol generation, etc.
Industrial usage of CO2 can help the cause of CCS
through the following25.
• Additional revenues which can result in more demon-
stration projects and accelerate the reduction of techno-
logy costs, specifically those related to capture.
• CCS project delivery experience of addressing finan-
cial, environmental and regulatory barriers.
• Public acceptance of technologies and projects.
Table 2 indicates the CO2 usage areas and are shortlisted
by potential future demand.
Economics of CCS
Carbon capture and storage technology is governed by
two major factors or the two ‘eco’s – ecology and eco-
nomy. While it is one of the important ways to potentially
reduce CO2 emissions, it has its own share of economic
penalties, similar to other clean technologies.
The IPCC suggests an additional electricity cost of
US$ 0.01 to 0.05 per kilowatt-hour of electricity gene-
rated through CCS-based power plants as compared to
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2013 919
Table 1. Overview of existing estimates for theoretical storage capacity in India
Holloway et al.20
Good, fair and Good and
Dooley et al.22 Singh et al.19 limited quality fair quality Good quality
Oil fields – 7 10.0–1.1
Gas fields 2 2.7–3.5
Aquifers 102 360 138 59 43
Coal seams 2 5 0.345
Basalts – 200 –
Total 104 572 142 63 47
Source: Refs 21 and 40.
Table 2. Shortlisted industrial uses of CO2 by potential future demand (> 5 Mtpa)
Current non-captive Future potential non-captive
Existing uses CO2 demand (Mtpa) CO2 demand (Mtpa)
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) 30 < Demand < 300 30 < Demand < 300
Fertilizer – urea (captive use) 5 < Demand < 30 5 < Demand < 30
New uses Future potential non-captive
CO2 demand (Mtpa)
Enhanced coalbed methane recovery (ECBM) Demand > 300
Enhanced geothermal systems – CO2 as a working fluid 5 < Demand < 30
Polymer processing 5 < Demand < 30
Algal bio-fixation > 300
Calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate > 300
CO2 concrete curing 30 < Demand < 300
Bauxite residue treatment (‘red mud’) 5 < Demand < 30
Renewable methanol > 300
Formic acid > 300
Source: Ref. 25.
existing power plants and US$ 20–270 per tonne of CO2
avoided5. This cost can be supplemented by suitable car-
bon trading mechanisms, and also by EOR and ECBM
technologies as discussed earlier. The Sleipner project in
Norway was possibly successful because of the Norwe-
gian offshore carbon tax26. Statoil, the company operating
this project preferred to invest US$ 55/tC instead of the
heavy carbon tax of US$ 140 in Norway.
The CCS component cost for each tonne of CO2
avoided is US$ 15–75 for capture, US$ 1–8 for transport
and US$ 0.5–8 for injection into geological sites. Reve-
nues from storage are estimated at US$ 360 per million
tonnes or US$ 0.00036 per tonne of CO2 annually. Over a
hundred year period, the revenue is only US$ 0.036 per
tonne of CO2. This is too small compared to the cost of
CCS. Thus, the revenue generated is almost negligible
when compared to cost.
Another study indicates that sequestering 90% of the
CO2 from power plants would add 2¢/kWhe to the busbar
costs27. At this price, CCS compares favourably with
renewable and nuclear energy sources26. This competitive
price position could however change in the future, owing
to a variety of factors such as rise in fossil fuel prices,
change in technological scenarios, etc. Thus, there needs
to be a focus to make CCS cheaper and more affordable,
especially for the developing countries. This can be
done by innovations within the technology. The cost
could of course be brought down if ECBM or EOR
recovery takes place as discussed earlier. The pre-
combustion route opens up opportunities for ‘polygenera-
tion’, in which apart from electricity, other side products
are also generated26. For example, the hydrogen produced
could be used as a fuel. Moreover, syngas is an important
mixture for several chemical reactions. Other advances
could include the development of a membrane contrac-
tor28, which reduces the size of the absorber and stripper
units by 65% and solvent loss. Such advances would help
the cause of CCS as a technology. This is the reason why
CO2 storage in oceans is no longer considered to be an
When we consider CCS as a mitigation option towards
climate change, it is certainly a delight for the technolo-
gist and the environmentalist, but the economist is not
always pleased. Therefore, the question arises that if we
compare CCS with renewable energy sources, such as
solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, etc. what
is likely to be the correct mitigation option, both in the
near term and the long term.
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2013
If we look at the environmental impacts, the GHG
emissions of renewable energy plants are a very small
fraction of CCS-based fossil fuel power plants. By 2020,
offshore winds would emit only 5–8%, solar thermal en-
ergy 11–18% and photovoltaics 14–24% of the emissions
as compared to CCS power plants21. Thus, the environ-
mental sustainability in case of renewable energy sources
is far better than CCS.
Speaking of economics, the above cited report also pre-
dicts that fossil-fuel-fired CCS plants would produce
electricity at a more expensive rate than renewable
energy for all fossil fuels except lignite after 2020 and
after 2025 for lignite21. Thus, economically also, renew-
able energy sources might dominate in terms of the
potential to cause GHG reduction at an affordable cost. It
may, however, be noted that this timeline might not be
exact. The global economic slowdown must definitely
have had an impact on the global willingness to pay for
reduction of CO2 emissions and thus the use of CCS and
subsequently renewable energy sources might be post-
poned by some years and possibly a couple of decades.
So, what exactly is the role of CCS? This has been very
well stated by the Editor of Greenhouse Gas Science and
Technology, ‘CCS is an important transition technology
such that we minimize the CO2 emissions and at the same
time develop renewable resources’29.
A major factor determining the success of CCS will be
the monetization of CO2 emissions. There are two possi-
ble ways of doing this. The first is as discussed with
regards to the Sleipner project, i.e. imposition of taxes on
heavy emitters. Another way is the emission trading
mechanism. This method involves an upper limit on how
much CO2 a country can emit. If the country emits less
than this fixed amount, it can use it as a market commo-
dity to trade with and earn monetary profits. This mecha-
nism is an integral part of the Kyoto Protocol30. The
carbon price at which CCS is likely to be effective is
US$ 200, which is the maximum price indicated by EPPA
modelling efforts for the year 2040. If this is done, it will
provide a real boost to CCS31.
For example, a US$ 200/tC charge on emissions would
yield a 50% reduction in emissions without CCS but an
80% reduction in emissions with CCS. These results
demonstrate the potential role of CCS in the electricity
Problems, risks and challenges
However there are a few problems, risks and challenges
associated with carbon capture and storage.
1. When carbon dioxide is stored, it must be done in a
way to ensure that it does not leak. Any sort of leak
would not only damage the environment but also wastage
of money invested in the process. Carbon dioxide leak
may also lead to death of people due to asphyxia. Leak-
age may occur in several forms. One most common way
is leakage during injection of CO2. It may also leak dur-
ing transport. Therefore, during the entire CCS process,
proper quality of the materials of the wells, pipelines, etc.
must be maintained.
2. Oceans are a prominent CO2 sink. However, there
has been a concern cited that the trapped CO2 may make
the water acidic if precautions are not taken, thus render-
ing it useless for the use of future generations. It may also
disrupt marine life thus affecting biodiversity.
CO2 + H2O → H
Carbon dioxide Water Carbonic acid
3. Many believe a major challenge with carbon capture
and storage is expected to be changing the perception of
the people to accept it as a good technology. This would
involve education of the people about it. Many countries
such as the Netherlands and the USA have already initi-
ated projects to make the people more aware of the CCS
technology. The research community needs to reach out
to the general public on the use of the technology. It must
be understood that the general public must be willing to
spend more for climate change abatement options and
thus CCS must be made acceptable to them.
4. Traditionally, CO2 sequestration is considered to be
an expensive technology. As a result, many governments,
especially those of the developing countries do not have a
favourable stance towards CCS. This has been detrimen-
tal to research and development on CCS. Such research
must be supported. Policy makers must be aware of the
advantages of this technology. At the same time, it is also
true that CCS involves an additional energy penalty of
33% as compared to ordinary fossil-fuel-fired power
plants and thus researchers must focus on making this a
more economic process29.
5. A recent article reports that CCS technology can
possibly create seismic hazards and have a tendency to
create earthquakes33. However, it is also noteworthy that
this was contradicted by the response of Juanes et al.34,
which again has been rebutted by the authors of the origi-
nal paper35. For a summary of the arguments present in
the article, the reader may refer to the comments of Stuart
History and current status of CCS
Initially before the 1990s, CCS comprised very small and
disintegrated research groups. Funding was difficult to
procure for research in this area. The first major break-
through came in March 1992, through the organization of
the First International Conference on Carbon Dioxide
Removal in which around 250 scientists from 23 coun-
tries participated. This conference later grew into the
International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control
Technologies (GHGT). This was followed by the formation
of several important bodies for coordinating CCS activities
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2013 921
such as United Kingdom Carbon Capture and Storage Con-
sortium (UKCCSRC), the International Energy Association
Greenhouse Gas Programme (IEAGHG), the Cooperative
Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies
(CO2CRC), etc. Today, CCS is considered to be at the
forefront of environmental research. Several journals,
such as the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas
Control (Elsevier) and Greenhouse Gases: Science and
Technology (Wiley), dedicated to CCS research have
The Global CCS Institute based in Australia suggests
that there are 74 large-scale integrated pilot projects on
CCS around the world. Out of these, only eight are under
operation and the rest are in the stage of execution, defi-
nition or planning. Moreover, only 8 of the 74 projects
belong to developing countries, 5 to China, 2 to Middle
East and 1 to Algeria. Most of the projects under opera-
tion or those sanctioned are based in Australia, USA and
The IPCC5 divides the various component technologies
of CCS into the following phases.
• Research Phase: Ocean storage (We must understand
that this report was prepared in 2005 and at that time
ocean storage was considered a probable option).
• Demonstration Phase: Oxyfuel combustion, enhanced
coalbed methane recovery.
• Economically feasible under specific conditions: post-
combustion, pre-combustion, storage in gas and oil
fields, storage in saline aquifers.
• Mature market: industrial separation, enhanced oil
• Transport lies in the interface phase between Phases 3
Earlier, it was expected that the first Commercial CCS
Project would be initiated around 2050. However, the
global economic downturn has had a retarding impact on
the development of the technology.
In India, the technology is yet to spread its boundaries
outside the laboratory-scale. The sequestration potential
for various storage methods has been assessed but have
not been applied on a project-based scale. India lacks a
programme similar to the United States Department of
Energy Partnership Program, the CO2CRC Programme or
the IEAGHG Programme, which have been beneficial for
the development of CCS in the USA, Australia and
Conclusions and recommendations
As stated earlier, our dependence on hydrocarbons is not
expected to decline in a major way given the current eco-
nomic scenario. So, CCS is an important transition tech-
nology such that we minimize the CO2 emissions and at
the same time develop renewable resources25. We must
also understand that CCS does not compete with renew-
able energy sources, it rather complements them. The deve-
lopment of CCS is necessary because availability of a
larger number of abatement options would mean greater
ease in combating climate change26.
It is generally predicted that carbon capture shall first
start from coal-fired power plants, primarily because the
CO2 emitted per tonne of coal burnt is quite larger than
that emitted from 1 tonne of oil or natural gas burnt and
hence capture shall be more economical6. This is also
more probable due to the fact that many major economies
of the world such as the USA, China and India meet their
primary energy demand from coal.
CCS needs to be supported well. Thus, carbon credits
shall play an important role in its implementation on a
large scale. Moreover, since CCS is largely regarded as
the technology of the future, the knowledge of CCS
should not be restricted to scientists and professors, but
also be shared with school and college students through
various invited talks, articles, exhibitions, etc.
For fast and efficient development, CCS needs a highly
multi-disciplinary working group involving petroleum
engineers, chemical engineers, geologists, geophysicists,
mathematicians and other scientists. The technology needs
a favourable collaboration between industry, research labo-
ratories, universities and policy makers. It is suggested
that in India, a national network project should be set up
with the joint funding of the government, industry and
foreign collaboration should also be tried out. The project
may comprise CSIR Laboratories, companies such as CIL
and ONGC and also academic institutions such as IITs,
ISM and various other state and national universities.
Currently, the technology is advancing well, but in
fragments. R&D on capture, transport and storage is
being carried out. Once this is done, there shall be need to
integrate the various processes. If developed the right
way, CCS has the potential to reduce the current emis-
sions in fossil-fuel-fired power plants by up to 90%25.
While it is true that the Stern Review and the Interna-
tional Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook Report
have listed CCS to be one of the carbon mitigation strate-
gies for India, the development of CCS in India has been
somewhat slow. Kapila and Haszeldine38 suggest that this
is because of India’s coalition form of government in the
recent times and the fragment bureaucratic structure,
which result in ‘too many cooks’ and makes any sort of
innovation difficult. They are of the view that CCS
should follow the footsteps of the IT sector, wherein
growth has been facilitated by private sector led R&D.
However, in most developing countries including India,
there has been some degree of apprehension about CCS
as the technology is expensive and involves a number of
risks. The general desire among developing countries is
that the Western countries try it first on their soil and
then transfer it to the developing ones3. However, this
may also mean that the developing countries are left
behind in research on CCS, which might become a crucial
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 7, 10 OCTOBER 2013
technology in the days to come. The only possible way to
understand CCS in its entirety is to perform more inter-
disciplinary research involving technology development,
technology forecasting, economic and environmental
assessment and vulnerability assessment.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. I thank Dr A. K. Singh (CIMFR), Prof.
B. B. Bhattacharya (former Director, ISM, Dhanbad) and Prof. D.
Mukhopadhyay, for their advice and guidance.
Received 25 December 2012; revised accepted 21 June 2013