Nearly every week we hear of an exciting development in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
So far in 2023 this has included Pacific Northwest National Lab in the US developing a technique to pull carbon dioxide out of a factory or power plant flue at record low cost, and Japan announcing a carbon capture roadmap that could see it storing 120-240 million tonnes of CO2 per annum by 2050.
You might have read about a US start-up named CarbonQuest making progress in introducing CCUS to high-rise residential buildings or Thailand’s Siam Cement Group embarking on a carbon capture pilot that could be game-changing for construction.
It’s easy to understand why CCUS is increasingly finding its way into mainstream media.
While some of the technology has been around for decades, there probably hasn’t been widespread awareness of it. New applications and innovations are increasing the opportunity to take something the world doesn’t want (carbon dioxide) and convert it into something useful.
For want of a better word, carbon capture, utilisation and storage is “cool.”
But the novelty people may associate with CCUS shouldn’t overshadow how critical it is going to be over the next few decades.
Without effective and widespread investment in CCUS technology, the world will not achieve climate targets – something borne out in multiple studies by the International Energy Agency. This is especially true in Asia, where the pathway to net zero involves balancing economic growth and energy security with mid-century emissions targets.
The organisation of which I am CEO – the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association (ANGEA) – sits at the heart of this, with a membership consisting of large global energy companies covering the entire supply chain, from production to consumption.
We strongly believe natural gas has a vital role to play throughout Asia as a lower emissions alternative to coal, and as a reliable and always available transition fuel for power generation, while renewable energy capacity increases and emissions-free fuels of the future are developed.
We recognise production of gas, its use in electricity generation and as a feedstock to make products like hydrogen and ammonia, comes with an emissions profile we must work to manage. That’s why our members are at the cutting edge of developing CCUS solutions for Asia, including partnering with other industries that have similar abatement challenges.
So far in 2023 we’ve seen ExxonMobil working with Nippon Steel on potential carbon capture for Japanese steel mills and JERA signing a memorandum of understanding on the use of hydrogen and ammonia with Thailand’s Electricity Generating Plc (EGCO) that includes CCUS.
JGC, Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are other ANGEA members actively working on CCUS in Asia, collaborating with major State-owned utility providers and often each other. We believe that, with the right policy settings, CCUS will become a business opportunity in its own right for nations in South East Asia.
Further afield within our membership, ExxonMobil is progressing a blue hydrogen facility incorporating CCUS in Texas that could produce a billion cubic feet of hydrogen a day, while JERA is planning to collaborate with Yara Clean Ammonia on a blue ammonia production facility on the Gulf Coast of the US.
Meanwhile, Chevron New Energies announced last year a major investment in specialist carbon capture company Svante, as part of its efforts to advance full value chain CCUS.
A great benefit of having a global membership like ANGEA’s is that solutions, best practice and learnings from other parts of the world can be applied in Asia. Some of our member companies have expertise in CCUS spanning decades.
An important and enjoyable aspect of my role at ANGEA is engaging with a range of stakeholders at energy industry events and forums around the region.
Not surprisingly, given the geopolitical landscape, energy security and supply are topics that people often want to talk about. But CCUS is right alongside them.
It’s high up on my list too, and that of ANGEA.
A core focus for ANGEA in 2023 will be engaging governments across Asia, to not only bring them up to speed with member company activities but develop an understanding of how we can work together on CCUS solutions their countries require, and make the most of opportunities it can bring, across multiple industries.
I’m very optimistic that some of the CCUS developments that make future headlines will result from these collaborations.
Paul Everingham is the inaugural CEO of the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association (ANGEA), which works with governments, society and industry throughout Asia to build effective and integrated energy policies that meet each country’s climate objectives. Paul will be speaking as part of a CCUS webinar focussed on Asia on March 16 being hosted by Energy Voice.