With greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets getting ever more ambitious, and the pressing need for concrete results, the technological tools at our disposal keep improving. A new publication launched by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) looks at carbon dioxide (CO2) capture, utilization, and storage/sequestration (CCUS) technologies, which are playing a bigger and bigger role and could allow Canadians to reach GHG targets without compromising the standard of living.
“It is now possible to capture carbon emissions at their source—whether at refineries or particularly energy-intensive plants—and use this resource in several ways, including in the production of concrete or the manufacture of synthetic fuels,” points out Krystle Wittevrongel, co-author of the publication.
“This technology has the potential to change everything in our fight against climate change. It also reminds us that carbon itself is not the enemy, but rather the effects that it can have on the warming of the planet if nothing is done to contain emissions. Moreover, this technique is an excellent market solution.”
According to the authors, the efficiency of CCUS technologies in terms of CO2 capture is around 85%, with some projects reaching 95% or even 100%. While different energy sources are potentially interesting for powering some factories, there are no viable alternatives for the activities of steel mills or cement plants, for example. That’s why CO2 capture will likely be a necessity to reduce emissions while being equitable to workers in numerous sectors of the economy.
“In recent years, certain CCUS projects have been developed in Western Canada. In fact, four Canadian projects represent 15% of global carbon capture facilities. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to do, and many obstacles will need to be overcome for this technology to be put to use on a larger scale. Nonetheless, this solution allows us to look to the future with more confidence,” concludes Miguel Ouellette, economist and director of operations at the MEI.
The publication, entitled “Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Reducing GHG Emissions,” is available here.