Traditional energy sources will continue to be needed for the foreseeable future. The burning of coal, oil, and natural gas emits CO2. However, there are opportunities to equip natural gas and coal power plants with CCUS systems. Additionally, the industrial and petrochemical sectors (i.e., the makers of plastics and chemicals) are large contributors to global emissions, and many of these industries cannot cost effectively transition to significantly cleaner processes. CCUS systems may be appropriate for them as well.
In addition to focusing on what industries are viable options for CCUS opportunities, consideration must be given to the transportation, uses, and storage of CO2. The current dominant industrial use of captured CO2 is in Enhanced Oil Recovery (“EOR”), where CO2 is injected into a mature oilfield to extract oil. However, there is the potential to increase the use of captured CO2, for example, in building materials (e.g., cement) and fuels. Permanent storage also has potential to be a long-term solution based on the large-scale availability of reservoir formations that can permanently store the CO2 in liquid form.