During the European Commission’s Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) Forum in Aalborg, Denmark held in November, five member states signed an agreement essentially clinching the technology’s role in the energy transition and the European Union’s decarbonization strategy. The Aalborg Declaration, signed by Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and Germany, will enable the scaling up and wider usage of CCS throughout Europe, however questions remain about which industries it will be applied upon. But lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum, recipient of a Journalism Fund EU grant to report on Europe’s CCS buildout, reminds that most CCS operations worldwide use the carbon they capture to produce more oil. Read More
In this episode of the Global Energy Transition podcast, host Michael Buchsbaum, lead blogger for the Energy Transition.org talks with David Schlissel, attorney and Director of Resource Planning Analysis for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) about carbon capture and storage (CCS) which got a lot of attention at the recently concluded COP28 in Dubai. Read More
The biggest fertilizer company in Europe concluded the first ever cross-border deal with a carbon capture joint venture to store CO2 emissions from its biggest production plant in the Netherlands below the seabed in Norway. It is supposed to “demonstrate that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a climate tool for Europe”. Lisa Tostado explains why capturing CO2 in the Netherlands and shipping it to Norway is not a climate solution.
Given that oil and gas producers dominate the sector, many environmental groups and civil society organizations suspect that investments in Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS) are being used to divert attention and resources away from a quicker build-out of renewable energy systems and other proven methods of addressing climate change. At the end of 2022, as several of the world’s largest petrochemical firms announced ambitious CCS investment plans, the European Union finally released a draft of their proposed CCS framework. As lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum discusses, hundreds of environmental, climate and civil society groups, including the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, immediately deemed it a “smokescreen for inaction.”
The U.S.’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has been hailed as both a jobs-creating infrastructure stimulus and a clean energy booster. To ensure bi-partisan support in the otherwise polarized United States, it also provides generous tax credits for investments in carbon capture and sequestration or carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. Beyond the $12 billion in other government support for CCS, bonus funds are now available to prove out experimental “Direct Air Capture” (DAC) technology. Recently Airbus bought 400,000 tons of carbon removal credits from a planned DAC facility in Texas’ oil-soaked Permian Basin. When operational in 2024, owner Occidental Petroleum promises it will be capable of sucking one million tons of CO2 out of the sky every year. And as lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews, Oxy will then use that CO2 to produce millions of barrels of climate friendlier “net-zero oil.” Confused? Welcome to America’s suck rush.
Despite our awareness that burning fossil fuels is the biggest driver of climate change, CO2 emissions likely increased by another 1.0% in 2022, hitting a new record high of 36.6bn tonnes. While certainly it would be better to switch to low or no-carbon energy sources, another potential solution, one mainly championed by the oil and gas industry, is to capture as much CO2 as possible and store it underground. Though scientists begrudgingly accept that some mixture of carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems will need to be deployed to avoid dangerous global heating, to date it’s unclear if the technology actually works. Worse, the vast majority of operating CCS plants actually use captured CO2 to produce more oil. But seen as critical to the emerging hydrogen economy as well as solving climate change, with dozens of new CCS projects announced worldwide this year, in this three-part series, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews the scene.
Long recognized as an alternative to fossil fuels and once again heralded as an invaluable tool for tackling climate change, hydrogen is a key component within many of the recently announced national net-zero energy plans being rolled out by individual nations as well as the European Union. Hydrogen will likely be given a center role in new President Joe Biden’s climate plan too. To help sort out hope from hype, climate think tank, Carbon Brief recently published a detailed and invaluable hydrogen explainer. With comments from one of the analysts quoted in the explainer, L. Michael Buchsbaum helps untangle hydrogen’s reality.
Though increasingly framed as a key way to slow climate change, for most commercial Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) operations, selling the carbon they capture to produce more fossil fuels through Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) production is the only way they can ensure profits for investors. According to a count by the Global CCS Institute, of the 28 currently operable CCS complexes worldwide, 22 rely on EOR as their back end “storage” system. CCS advocates hope that under the right public policy regimes, this profit-making motive will help scale up CCS operations while driving costs down. Getting the public onboard means selling CCS as a way to prevent climate change, but who pays when they fail? L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews one of 2020’s biggest CCS disasters as the fourth part of the on-going Seduction series.
As many nations develop net-zero carbon plans both to honor the Paris Climate Agreement and address the climate crisis, many are leaning heavily upon unproven and misunderstood Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technologies. Despite billions of dollars spent in research and development, it’s unclear how much environmental progress is actually achieved by CCS. Not only is there little accurate data around how much carbon has really been buried, but there’s reason to believe CCS will actually increase overall greenhouse gas emissions. In the third part of his “Seduced by CCS” series, L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews CCS’ math and how utilizing it to produce more oil only makes things worse.
Touted as a key component within many emerging national net-zero emissions strategies, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) received a huge credibility boost from several recent IPCC and IEA studies. But CCS’ greatest advantage is that it enables oil majors to have a market in an otherwise decarbonized economy. What it doesn’t do is stop the pollution stream. Framed as a climate solution, in fact most current and planned projects use the CO2 they capture to produce more fossil fuels through various enhanced oil recovery (EOR) schemes. As part of an ongoing series deconstructing CCS, L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews some recent history.