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India draws roadmap for carbon capture, utilisation, storage

NewsIndia draws roadmap for carbon capture, utilisation, storage

NEW DELHI: India will chart out by this fall a roadmap for climate sustainability and transition to net zero for limiting global temperature rise between 1.5 to 2oC from pre-industrial levels.
It is reliably learnt that Government of India (GoI) and its energy missions are working closely with the Niti Aayog and other ministries, emphasising the critical role of Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS). Companies that made presentations along with top officials of the Niti Aayog said that the GoI made it clear to all stakeholders that CCUS was especially important for decarbonizing the hard to abate industrial sector, as well as large parts of the power generation sector, which would continue to use fossil fuels for at least the next few decades.
“The Indian government realises reaching net zero and stabilising atmospheric CO2 concentration between 450-750 ppmv (parts per million by volume) for limiting global temperature rise between 1.5 to 2oC is not possible without CCUS,” Atanu Mukherjee, CEO of Dastur Energy, told this reporter in a telephonic interview from the United States.
Globally, power and industry account for about 65% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) encompass technologies to remove CO2 from the flue gas and from the atmosphere, followed by disposition of the CO2 through utilisation or determining safe and permanent storage options, thereby reversing its negative impacts.
“The government realises the change will not happen overnight but a sincere effort needs to be made. Fossil fuels will stay for a fairly long period but the shift to green energy is inevitable. So the government is working towards it,” said Mukherjee.
Enabling circular carbon economy (CCE), the technology helps manufacturers capture carbon at the point of emission, i.e., chimneys, and trap carbon dioxide using chemical and physical processes, for reuse in the production of fuels (methanol), plastic components, fire extinguishers, pharma, soda ash, food and drinks, building materials and agriculture.
Emerging innovations in this area include artificial photosynthesis using bio-solar leaves and phytoplankton-based solutions that mimic the chemical process of photosynthesis. Mukherjee said the carbon captured is stacked and stored deep inside geological formations such as exploited oil and gas wells. “CCUS technologies can play an important role in meeting net zero targets, and are one of the key pathways to reduce emissions while continuing to develop sustainably at an unprecedented pace. It also aligns with five of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), namely, climate action; clean energy, industry, innovation, and infrastructure; responsible consumption and production; and partnerships to achieve the goals.”
As a signatory to the Paris Agreement targets for restricting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, and preferable to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, GoI is looking to introduce multiple policies and actions to support and facilitate CCUS initiatives by industries and PSUs. These efforts are deemed significant in propelling India towards a clean-tech enabled sustainable and green energy economy.
Mukherjee said India’s estimated geological storage potential for carbon dioxide (CO2) is in the range of 400 to 600 gigatons (GT) and makes carbon capture and storage a feasible option, but a long-term strategy is needed to map and actualise this potential. India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) aims to nurture CCUS through emphasis on research and development and capacity building of both human resource and infrastructure, to evolve technologies and methodologies addressing issues related to high capital costs, safety, logistics and high auxiliary power consumption.
GoI’s move can be gauged from the establishment of two National Centres of Excellence in Carbon Capture and Utilisation with support from the Department of Science & Technology. The National Centre of Excellence in Carbon Capture and Utilisation at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Mumbai and the National Centre in Carbon Capture and Utilisation at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru are being set up. These centres will facilitate capturing and mapping of current R&D and innovation activities in the domain and also develop networks of researchers, industries and stakeholders with coordination and synergy between partnering groups and organisations.
“The Indian government will act as multi-disciplinary, long-term research, design development, collaborative and capacity-building hubs for state-of-the-art research and application-oriented initiatives in the field of CCU,” said Mukherjee.
Another such measure is the Mission Innovation Challenge on CCUS. The objective and scope of the challenge is to enable near-zero CO2 emissions from power plants and carbon-intensive industries. The Department of Science and Technology, in collaboration with the Department of Biotechnology has established a national program on CO2 storage research which supports carbon capture research and develops pilots and projects.
Mukherjee said India’s intention is to facilitate the emergence of CCUS by accelerating and maturing CCUS technologies through targeted financing of innovative and research activities. The scope also envisages to address the challenges related to CCUS in technological, environmental, social and economic context of the country.
New Delhi has joined forces with France, Germany, Greece, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States to achieve these objectives. The initiative has witnessed four successful ACT calls targeting research, development and innovation projects within CCUS.
According to the IEA, the world needs to implement about 6.2 gigatons of CCUS by 2050. However, even 50 years after the first CCUS projects started operating, there are only about 30 CCUS projects around the world capturing only 42 mtpa of CO2, i.e. about 0.1% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions of 36 gtpa. A further 10 mtpa of CCUS capacity is under construction and another 98 mtpa capacity is under advanced development. Given the scale of global CO2 emissions, CCUS needs to significantly scale up in an accelerated time frame to make a meaningful contribution to global decarbonization. Some of the challenges CCUS currently faces in India includes the deployment of solvents and sorbents that can effectively bind to the CO2 present in flue gas or the atmosphere, which is expensive, and the demand for CO2 is limited compared to the vast amount of CO2 that needs to be removed from the atmosphere, to reduce the detrimental environmental impacts of climate change.
And then, a comprehensive CO2 storage capacity assessment for the country is needed. Deploying CCS on a large scale would require timely investment in infrastructure as well as devising some initial incentives. It will take time before India’s decarbonization journey will become economically viable in size and scale. Mukherjee said CCUS is at a nascent stage in most G20 countries, with the notable exceptions of the US and Canada. This is followed by other G20 countries such as Australia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the EU. To accelerate the rate and scale of adoption and CCUS deployment across the G20, it is critical to address technology gaps across the CCUS value chain through international collaboration across various cross-cutting areas and themes.

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