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Hype among low-carbon technologies: Carbon capture and storage in comparison

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Abstract and Figures

Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technology has become a crucial part of climate change mitigation strategies around the world; yet its progress has been slow. Some have criticised CCS as a distracting hype, even as mainstream support continues. This article adapts the literature on technological hypes to develop a framework suitable for technologies with limited media/public exposure, such as CCS. It provides a qualitative context and analyses seven quantitative indicators of hype that are largely internal to the CCS technology regime. Throughout, the article contrasts results for CCS with those of comparable technologies. The main findings, are as follows. “Expectations” in the form of mounted rapidly project announcements for electricity applications of CCS and deployment forecasts in influential reports. However, announcements soon plummeted. “Commitments” remained high, nonetheless, judging by allocations in public budgets and number of peer-reviewed publications. Meanwhile, “outcomes”—in terms of patents, prototypes and estimated costs— reveal few if any improvements for CCS. Considering these findings and the characteristics of CCS, its development is likely to be more difficult than initially expected. Accordingly, this article calls for decisively prioritising CCS for industrial and, potentially, bioenergy uses. Coal- and gas-fired power plants may be replaced by non-CCS technologies, so power CCS development is far less pressing.
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... Above all else, inadequate exploration for geological CO 2 storage potential creates a conundrum that constrains the pace and scale of CCUS deployment [67]. According to statistics collected from published projects, investments and activities in geological storage represent only a tiny fraction of what was envisaged a decade ago [168][169][170]. Furthermore, only one-fifth of captured CO 2 successfully provides practical experience for establishing permanent storage sites and CO 2 injection [67]. ...
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With the proposal to achieve carbon neutrality by the mid-21st century, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) as a critical negative carbon technology is receiving extensive attention and concerns around the world. Under this context, the development of CCUS and relevant literature both have been experiencing an upsurge. However, the actual scale of CCUS is still far behind our expectations, especially, the various risks and uncertainties associated with its deployment planning have not yet been addressed clearly. Therefore, this paper provides an overview of model-based CCUS deployment pathways toward carbon neutrality, as well as the associated risks of financial, technical, environmental, health and safety (EHS) aspects. On this basis, we scrutinize the potential challenges that could lead to the pace of CCUS deployment inconsistent with the need to achieve a carbon-neutral target. The results suggest that the "Golden Age" of CCUS deployment lies from 2040 to 2060 in the world, while 2030-2050 for China. Furthermore, we found that inadequate exploration in geologic storage capacity also creates a critical conundrum for CCUS deployment and optimization, apart from typical challenges including high failure rate of projects, the lack of financial support and market stimulus, as well as incomplete regulation framework and risk-sharing mechanism. Lastly, this paper points out the further potential research direction, followed by policy implications and recommendations.
... In both countries, CCS ambitions have shifted in recent years from power generation (e.g. at coal-fired power plants) to CO 2 capture at industrial facilities, such as steel, cement, chemicals and oil refining. Before the recent shift to industrial CCS, implementation had long been hampered after an initial period of enthusiasm for CCS [10,11]. Many demonstration projects that aimed to bring CCS closer to large-scale implementation suffered from shifts in government support [11], often underpinned by a lack of public support [12,13]. ...
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Carbon Capture and Storage at industrial processes (industrial CCS) is expected to play an important role in reducing industrial CO2 emissions in the short term. Industrial CCS involves capturing CO2 from industrial processes, such as steel and cement making, and storing the CO2 underground. This study examined the public opinion of industrial CCS through an informed opinion survey in the Netherlands (N = 987) and the United Kingdom (UK; N = 974). On average, respondents were neutral to slightly positive about the implementation of industrial CCS in their country. UK respondents were slightly more positive (M = 4.66 on a 7-point scale) than Dutch respondents (M = 4.38). Awareness and perceived knowledge levels were somewhat higher in the Netherlands than in the UK. In both countries, perceived outcomes of industrial CCS (e.g. for climate change; safety; employment) were strongly associated with industrial CCS opinion, when compared to socio-demographics, proximity to industry (actual and perceived), and psychological variables. Differences between countries in outcome perceptions occur. For example, the safety of CO2 transport is a larger concern in the Netherlands than in the UK, while cost-control is a larger concern in the UK than in the Netherlands. These findings suggest that the national context for CCS implementation matters. Our research suggests that public engagement strategies will benefit from focusing on the economic and climate impacts of industrial CCS, as well as from building trust in industry and addressing perceived safety concerns surrounding different aspects of industrial CCS.
... Escaping from this risk trap depends on urgently restoring confidence among the public, investors, and other stakeholders by delivering successful projects and beginning to catalyze a cycle of investment in which technology performance improves, costs fall, and adoption accelerates. While the stimulus bills in 2009 (Charlies, 2009) (e.g., The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, The European Economic Recovery Plan, Japan's Stimulus Package, China's 600 billion Economic Program) generated a huge wave of CCUS project initiation, it also created unattainable expectations brought on by technology hype (Arranz, 2016). CCUS has been in danger of slipping into the technology valley of death in recent years, particularly after the peak of technology hype cycle. ...
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The delivery of operational clean energy projects at scales is essential for addressing climate change. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCUS) is among the most important clean technology, however, most CCUS projects initiated in the past three decades have failed. This study statistically evaluates the reasons for this unfavourable outcome by estimating a hazard model for 263 CCUS projects undertaken between 1995 and 2018. The results indicate that larger plant sizes increase the risk of CCUS projects being terminated or put on hold; increasing capacity by 1 Mt CO2/y increases the risk of failure by nearly 50%. We also examined the impact of technology push and market pull policies and found that existing support mechanisms have not been sufficient in mitigating the risks associated with project upscaling. CCUS deployment at the gigaton scale depends on substantially reducing project risk while increasing expectations of financial returns. Gradual upscaling, increased policy support, particularly for demonstrations of the viability of CCUS, while also building a market through carbon pricing would help remedy the current imbalance between risk and return. Increasing the expected payoffs for CCUS so that hundreds of real projects are brought on-line will require the co-evolution of technology innovation, institutions, investment, and deployment strategy for CCUS technology.
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Grand hopes exist that carbon capture and storage can have a major decarbonization role at global, regional and sectoral scales. Those hopes rest on the narrative that an abundance of geological storage opportunity is available to meet all needs. In this Perspective, we present the contrasting view that deep uncertainty over the sustainable injection rate at any given location will constrain the pace and scale of carbon capture and storage deployment. Although such constraints will probably have implications in most world regions, they may be particularly relevant in major developing Asian economies. To minimize the risk that these constraints pose to the decarbonization imperative, we discuss steps that are urgently needed to evaluate, plan for and reduce the uncertainty over CO2 storage prospects.
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L' impiego dell'idroge-no per soddisfare la domanda di energia della società moder-na ha attirato da mol-to tempo l'attenzione e gli sforzi di soggetti pubblici e privati per le sue numerose caratteristiche positive: è abbondante, si presta a molti usi e ha un impatto ambientale mode-sto o nullo in fase di utilizzo. L'idrogeno è molto abbondante sulla terra. L'elemento più diffuso contenente idrogeno è l'acqua la cui molecola, come è noto, è com-posta da due atomi di idrogeno e uno di ossigeno (H 2 O). L'uso diret-to dell'acqua come fonte di energia è sempre stato un sogno dell'uomo, data la sua abbondanza e (qua-si) gratuità. Tuttavia, sia nel caso dell'acqua che di altre materie prime (come il metano, CH 4), l'idroge-no non si trova allo stato puro, ma va separato dagli altri elementi con i quali è legato. Questa operazione non è facile e richiede l'apporto di energia. L'idrogeno, perciò, non è una fonte di energia primaria, ma una fonte secondaria. Ne risulta che, qualsiasi sia la fonte da cui si parte, va messo a punto un sistema per la sua produzione. Per quanto riguarda l'utilizzo, l'i-drogeno è chiamato anche «vettore energetico» per la sua molteplici-tà di impiego. Nel settore civile o industriale può essere usato in so-stituzione dei combustibili fossili in tutti gli usi termici con alcuni vantaggi, soprattutto ambientali. Ad esempio, oggi se ne sta propo-nendo e sperimentando l'impiego in processi industriali innovativi come la riduzione diretta del mi-nerale di ferro (DRI) abbattendo le emissioni di CO 2 dei tradizionali altoforni siderurgici. Nei trasporti, come è noto, l'idrogeno è sempre stato usato come propellente dei vettori spaziali perché ha un po-tere calorifico pari a ca 2,8 volte quello degli idrocarburi a parità di massa (Tab. 1) e se ne sperimenta da tempo l'uso in veicoli a celle a combustibile. Le fuel cell possono essere usate per produrre diretta-mente elettricità (e calore) con ele-vato rendimento. Nella produzione elettrica l'idrogeno potrebbe essere impiegato anche per sostituire il Strong growth in expectations followed by disappointments, the «hypes» or «bubbles» are a phenomenon not uncommon in the technological field. Today there is a worldwide renewed widespread attention towards hydrogen as an energy vector. However, it is not the first time that this happens and that the rapid advent of an «hy-drogen economy» is announced. The article traces the three waves of enthusiasm towards hydrogen that we have already experienced and then focuses on the elements of continuity and the novelties of the current fourth wave, the roadmap foreseen for Europe and the prospects painted by the IEA. Forte crescita delle aspettative seguite da disillusioni, gli «hype» o «bolle» sono un fenomeno non raro in campo tecnologico. Oggi a livello mondiale vi è una rinnovata diffusa attenzione verso l'idroge-no come vettore energetico. Non è però la prima volta che questo interesse si manifesta e che si prevede il rapido avvento di una «economia dell'idrogeno». L'articolo ripercorre le tre ondate di entu-siasmo verso l'idrogeno di cui abbiamo già fatto esperienza per poi soffermarsi sugli elementi di continuità e le novità dell'attuale quarta ondata, la tabella di marcia prevista per l'Europa e le prospettive che ne dipinge la IEA.
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