Carbon capture and storage investment: Fiddling while the planet burns

Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 5, 15 April 2022
Pratama Y.W., Mac Dowell N.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been recognized as a key technology in energy systems decarbonization. However, numerous attempts to deploy CCS failed, and the technology is still viewed as pre-commercial. Consequently, public investment in CCS has been largely limited to research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in capture technology. While it is understood that private investment will typically focus on the development of intellectual property aimed at delivering a commercial advantage, there is a lack of evidence that public investment in CCS RD&D can deliver commercial viability. Here, we show that, while improved CCS technology in the electricity systems will deliver larger market shares to the technology developers, the benefit on overall system cost is negligible. Thus, public sector efforts should focus primarily on overcoming commercialization failures, such as the absence of CO2 transport and storage infrastructures and other deployment barriers, leaving the development of intellectual property to the private sector.