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Wood Mackenzie: Reaching net-zero will require massive deployment of carbon capture

Speaking at Wood Mackenzie’s Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Conference in Houston, Head of CCUS Research Mhairidh Evans stated that urgency is needed to meet the seven billion tonnes/yr of carbon capture required in order to meet net zero goals by 2050.

“Energy efficiencies, renewables and alternative fuels will not be enough to meet net zero by 2050,” said Ms Evans. “We need a huge amount of carbon to be captured out of our industries and the power sector to decarbonize the last miles that can’t be easily reached by green electrification or alternatives. Right now, we are on track to meet our base case scenario, which forecasts two billion tonnes/yr of CO2 capture and removal by 2050 – though this corresponds to a 2.5° global warming scenario. For net zero by 2050 and a 1.5°-compliant scenario we would need 7 Btpa. To come close, we need to get shovels in the ground quickly.”

Currently, Wood Mackenzie is tracking globally planned CCUS capacity at 1.4 billion tonnes/yr of CO2 across all types of projects — capture, transport and storage.

Despite opportunities for growth, governments and developers do face several challenges and hurdles to scaling up the industry.

“It’s clear we need investment, but the industry is still somewhat hesitant as developers are facing high costs, evolving technologies, unclear business models and nascent policy and regulation,” Ms Evans said. “We also need more emitters to come on board with carbon capture. There are companies proposing new CO2 storage hubs every month at the moment, but there is a limited pool of ready customers.”

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