No Content Set
Exception:
Website.Models.ViewModels.Components.General.Banners.BannerComponentVm

Services

Technical services and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, water, resources, defence and government sectors.

Advisory and management consulting

Advisory and management consulting services for businesses and projects, including economics, due diligence, transaction advisory, ESG and more.

Communications, creative and digital

Communications, creative and digital solutions for governments and businesses including community engagement, design, research, data and software development.

Laboratories

Scientific analysis services for AgroScience, food safety, workplace exposure, environmental metrics and contaminants of concern in Europe and the UK.

Planning and approvals

Development strategy, planning and approval solutions for buildings, infrastructure, transport and city projects and investments.

Project and program management

Project management solutions for the most complex building, infrastructure, organisational change, and systems projects.

Training

Specialist training services, programs and accreditation for health, safety and risk, project management, and energy sector capability development.

Sectors

World-leading technical and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, resources, water, defence and government sectors.

Property

Design, technical and advisory services for the property sector, including residential, commercial, retail, industrial, health, education and data centre projects.

Energy

Energy exploration, development and optimisation solutions for renewables, power and gas networks, energy storage, oil and gas and nuclear facilties.

Transport

Smart, safe and sustainable transport infrastructure development services and advice for rail, aviation, port and road clients and projects.

Defence and government services

Expertise for defence capability and infrastructure investments, security and safety projects, and information and telecommunications initatives.

Water

Discover our industry-leading strategy, design and management solutions for wastewater, groundwater, flooding, drainage and network infrastructure.

Resources

Commercial data, design advice and technical management solutions for safe and environmentally responsible resource exploration and operations.

About us

Responsibility

Services

Technical services and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, water, resources, defence and government sectors.

explore Services
Advisory and management consulting

Advisory and management consulting services for businesses and projects, including economics, due diligence, transaction advisory, ESG and more.

Due diligence

Economics

Strategy and transformation

Commercial and technical advisory

Transaction advisory

Project investment and finance

ESG consulting

Deal advisory

Explore Advisory and management consulting
Communications, creative and digital

Communications, creative and digital solutions for governments and businesses including community engagement, design, research, data and software development.

Communications and engagement

Creative, visualisation and immersive design

Social advisory and research

Data management, analytics and insights

Spatial intelligence and GIS

Software development

Explore Communications, creative and digital
Design and development

Technical and consulting services for buildings, infrastructure and cities including architecture, engineering, surveying, landscape architecture and urban design.

Architecture

Lifts and escalators

Building services engineering

Civil engineering

Fire engineering

Geotechnical engineering

Landscape architecture

Structural engineering

Surveying

Utility options and design

Urban design

Explore Design and development
Laboratories

Scientific analysis services for AgroScience, food safety, workplace exposure, environmental metrics and contaminants of concern in Europe and the UK.

AgroScience analysis

Food safety analysis

PFAS Analysis

Environmental analysis

Analysis of unknowns

Workplace exposure analysis

Explore Laboratories
Planning and approvals

Development strategy, planning and approval solutions for buildings, infrastructure, transport and city projects and investments.

Planning consultancy

Transport planning

Explore Planning and approvals
Project and program management

Project management solutions for the most complex building, infrastructure, organisational change, and systems projects.

Program management

Project management

Cost management / quantity surveying

Building consultancy

Explore Project and program management
Training

Specialist training services, programs and accreditation for health, safety and risk, project management, and energy sector capability development.

Health, safety and risk

Training: project management

Capability development and training for the energy sector

Explore Training

Sectors

World-leading technical and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, resources, water, defence and government sectors.

explore Sectors
Property

Design, technical and advisory services for the property sector, including residential, commercial, retail, industrial, health, education and data centre projects.

Residential

Commercial and retail

Leisure and tourism

Industrial

Health and healthcare

Education

Data centres

Explore Property
Energy

Energy exploration, development and optimisation solutions for renewables, power and gas networks, energy storage, oil and gas and nuclear facilties.

Oil and gas

Renewables

Nuclear facilities

Power and gas networks

Storage

Explore Energy
Transport

Smart, safe and sustainable transport infrastructure development services and advice for rail, aviation, port and road clients and projects.

Rail

Aviation

Ports

Roads

Explore Transport
Defence and government services

Expertise for defence capability and infrastructure investments, security and safety projects, and information and telecommunications initatives.

Defence

Security and safety

Information and telecommunications

Explore Defence and government services
Water

Discover our industry-leading strategy, design and management solutions for wastewater, groundwater, flooding, drainage and network infrastructure.

Water management

Wastewater

Flooding and drainage

Groundwater

UK and Ireland regulated water asset management

Explore Water
Resources

Commercial data, design advice and technical management solutions for safe and environmentally responsible resource exploration and operations.

Mining

Waste

Explore Resources

Projects

We define, design and manage projects that create shared value to a complex, urbanising and resource-scarce world.

explore Projects

Brilliant minds finding solutions to complex problems, made easy to understand. Making complex easy.

Brilliant minds finding solutions to complex problems, made easy to understand. Making complex easy.

explore Insights

Common myths about carbon capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects and technologies are poised to play a very critical part in the energy transition to more sustainable living. It’s essential that the momentum for these projects increases if we have any chance of meeting net-zero targets by 2050.

06 June 2022 | 9 min read
Andy Kirchin
ON THIS PAGE
Contact us

As energy demands continue to rise globally and as threats of climate change become more real every day, carbon reduction has never been more critical. However, there is still considerable resistance to CCS for various reasons. There have been long-held myths and beliefs that it’s too expensive, it just doesn’t work and so on. At RPS, however, we are currently receiving several enquiries from clients for support in this area, more than ever before. So, where do the facts lie, and how effective can CCS be in mitigating the worst effects of climate change? We’d like to explore this by first tackling a few of the more common myths surrounding CCS.

Myth 1: CCS is not economically feasible

One reason this myth of economic unfeasibility continues to persist is the (relatively) recent financial conditions of most countries that were championing it. In 2008-09, CCS was poised for a major expansion. However, given the emerging global financial crisis, less than 30% of funding allocated towards these projects actually went ahead. The political and economic will to pursue ventures of this kind simply didn’t exist at the time, and the momentum stalled.

To dismiss a CCS project out of hand for being economically unviable could be considered irresponsible without delving deeper into where those costs really lie. The IEA suggests that if we don’t retrofit power and industrial manufacturing plants to capture CO2, some of these industries may well continue to emit over 8 billion tonnes of it by 2050. So let’s talk facts.

CCS projects do not have a single heavy fixed price tag across all industries. Let’s look at the capture stage first. The global power-generating industries are amongst the highest CO2 emitters in the world. The fact remains that we will need the levels of energy they produce for many years to come. In comparison, manufacturing sectors such as chemicals, steel and cement produce less CO2. For example, cement production accounts for between 5% and 7% of global CO2 emissions per year. But these industries also have very little in terms of an alternative, cheaper way to reduce their emissions other than CCS, a fact that the International Energy Agency (IEA) has acknowledged.

Looking at the transport, storage or sequestration stages, there are more cost differences. Each country or region has its own specific set of permitting and consent requirements for the storage and transport of carbon. What that creates is a difference in complexity for each of these regions. The level of complexity can contribute to very different cost modelling for onshore or offshore pipeline transport or subsurface sequestration. At RPS, we have experience and have assisted developers in negotiating these unique processes, working directly with our clients and regulators to ensure a successful permitting or consenting outcome.

It’s also important to point out that CCS costs are falling in sectors like power generation in the United States. We’re seeing more interest in producing low-carbon hydrogen through CCS projects. There has also been an increased investment in CCS projects and legislative approvals from governments across 25 countries, to the tune of over $25 billion since the start of this decade.

We are definitely seeing a renewed confidence in CCS investment that we believe is here to stay.

Norcem cement plant, Brevik Norway

Myth 2: We’ve tried CCS before and it just doesn’t work

One of the reasons this myth has kept perpetuating is a lack of understanding of the history and background of CCS. Also, some very public setbacks in popular CCS projects have likely led to increased scepticism. Let’s address both of these issues independently.

The history of CCS

In 1972, several natural gas processing plants in Texas began carbon capture to supply CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) operations. Since then, over 200 million tonnes of CO2 have been captured and successfully stored underground. Looking towards Europe, in the early 1990s, Norway instituted a tax on CO2 emissions that prompted its largest oil company Statoil (Equinor today), to begin capture operations for its Sleipner oil and gas field in the North Sea.

Related Read: Sleipner West Carbon Capture and Storage 4D Seismic Monitoring by RPS

As the first commercial example of CO2 storage in a deep saline aquifer, the success of the Sleipner project generated much interest from around the world, leading to a further rise in CCS technology and applications. Today, CCS projects are operating or in development in over 25 countries. Europe and the United States currently lead the field with two-thirds of all projects. A CCS strategy is also under development in Canada, which will be complemented by actions taken at the provincial level. In 2021, more CCS projects were announced than at any other time in its history. From 75 million tonnes a year (MTPA) at the end of 2020, the capacity of projects in development grew to 111 MTPA in September 2021.

At RPS, we are currently active in supporting several projects across the CCS value chain. Some examples of these include:

  • a pre-FEED feasibility study we’re conducting in Ireland
  • planning and permitting services delivered in UK and
  • baseline seismic acquisition for two dedicated saline aquifer stores in the UK and Norway, respectively.
  • perspective storage resources report in the US
  • red-flag analysis of CCS project in the North Sea
  • injectivity modelling project for a UK depleted field

The setbacks from the Gorgon project

One of the more famous case studies of perceived failures of CCS projects is the Gorgon project in Australia, a flagship scheme conducted by Chevron at the liquified natural gas field of the same name. It received some heavy criticism and potential fines for failing to meet emissions targets of at least 80% over the first five years, and Chevron is currently working with regulators to make up the shortfall.

Not everything that occurred in this project has been a failure. Despite these challenges, this project has secured over 6 million tonnes of CO2 sequestration since injection started in 2019. Furthermore, the lessons learnt regarding injection well drilling and completion design will inform and influence better production methods in future CCS projects.

In a recent article Kory Judd, Chevron Australia’s director of operation, told Reuters, “What we’re doing is trying to learn our way through how you inject CO2 into the reservoirs, how do they respond, then how do you do that reliably and how do you do that and get to the point to meeting the commitments that you’ve got.”

Despite the setbacks of the Gorgon project, Chevron is continuing to invest in CCS, recently announcing the launch of a CCS project at their Kern River Eastridge cogeneration plant in Kern County, in the San Joaquin Valley, California. From the press release Chris Powers, vice president of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) for Chevron New Energies, stated, “At Chevron, we believe the future of energy is lower carbon. Reducing the carbon intensity of the energy people rely on day-in and day-out is well-aligned with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement”.

CCS is a technology that has been tried and tested for several decades and it does work. The technological spikes that we can come to expect from newer capture models like direct air capture will also become more viable as we progress towards 2050.

Myth 3: With renewable energy on the rise, we don’t need to invest in CCS anymore

We are unquestionably using more renewable energy than ever before. Moving further away from coal, power plants over the last two decades have also undoubtedly helped to reduce our carbon emissions. However, reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) to net-zero levels by 2050 cannot be accomplished without tackling CO2 emissions from the power (fossil fuels) and manufacturing industries. Therefore, investing in carbon capture technology has a vital part to play here and cannot be ignored.

As the saying goes, we can also walk and chew gum at the same time. Investing in CCS can happen alongside other measures we can take for carbon net neutrality, such as investing in hydrogen. Creating a hydrogen economy can help store energy long-term, covering the inevitable lulls we may expect from wind or solar generation. Low carbon hydrogen can either be produced by using renewable electricity and electrolysis to split the H atom from H2O (water) to create what is known as green hydrogen. Or you could produce it from natural gas and capture the CO2 by-product (blue hydrogen). Green hydrogen is unfortunately not yet at an economically viable position for some countries but until it is, focussing on blue hydrogen is a road forward.

RPS’ expertise in environmental risk mitigationwater and project management, and CO2 subsurface storage evaluation renders us well placed to support this growing effort for further decarbonisation.

As we move towards net zero carbon targets, we’re going to need every tool in our toolbelt to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Capturing carbon safely, storing or sequestering it and implementing a robust and measured utilisation process for it later is a potent weapon we should be investing in. CCS technology is available now, can demonstrably be improved and should therefore not be excluded from conversations about the energy transition and net zero emissions targets. Doing nothing is a step we can ill afford to take.