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Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Capture Storage Technologies


What is Carbon Capture Technology and what is the purpose behind it in the grand scheme of things? In this article we aim to address these questions and give an overview of how carbon dioxide emissions are impacting how organisations are entering the era of Net-Zero and sustainability. Additionally we seek to explore innovative technological tools available to help achieve Net-Zero and sustainability targets.

What is this CO2 molecule everyone keeps talking about?

Carbon is known to exist in a number of environments ranging from natural gas hydrate reservoirs (NGH) to space and interstellar medium (ISM) but more importantly in the atmosphere both as a pre-existing constituent in the form of carbon dioxide and as emitted gas as the result of human activity on the planet [1,2]. As a trace gas, carbon dioxide is found in Earth’s atmosphere and acts as an important regulator of our planet’s life cycle and climate [3]. Today’s concentrations are approximately 416 parts per million by volume (ppm) compared to the 18th century values, indicating a staggering 150% increase  since 1750 [4].  Since 1992 and the publication of the Kyoto Protocol later followed by the 1998 Green House Gas (GHG) protocol, GHGs, i.e. greenhouse gases typically carbon-based emitted via human activity, became of specific importance within the context of mitigating and reducing them [5,6].

Is increased CO2 levels a concern?

The answer is yes, but why? Disrupting carbon dioxide levels can induce heavy penalties in the atmosphere and subsequently in life on earth. Simply put, since the earliest environmental studies it has been shown that high levels of CO2 overheat the planet [7,8]. How is that possible? The answer lies in sunlight.

What is the greenhouse effect?

Light is electromagnetic radiation expressed as a combination of rays that meet at a specific point in space, ultimately seen as a single beam of light. Conventionally we refer to the visible light as “white” however it consists of individual rays that bear specific identities and characteristics. We’ve all seen them appear after a heavy rain as rainbows. Light travels from our sun, goes through our atmosphere and is both absorbed by Earth’s surface and reflected back into the atmosphere. When uninterrupted, the reflected light travels back into space. However in the presence of CO2, the red light region of sunlight, also known as infrared, gets eventually trapped by carbon dioxide molecules. These ultimately absorb the red light energy and emit it back in the form of heat. This, in a nutshell, is what we call the greenhouse effect mechanism and the reason why high levels of CO2 can be detrimental to all life on the planet.

Where do all these CO2 molecules come from?

A number of sources depending on the activity, human activity that is. Power generation and energy, overconsumption, manufacturing, transportation, food, deforestation and the list goes on [9]. These high emitting sectors are now taking every step towards reducing their emissions and switching to green energy solutions. Affected by the advent of the Net Zero and new regulations these high emitters are faced with a number of critical issues. These can be summarised as follows although the list is not exhaustive [10,11]:

  • Issues regulatory in nature; penalties due to lack of compliance
  • Issues with stakeholders and the public; reputation
  • Market position
  • Competition from carbon friendly products and/or services
  • Stranded assets and lack of investor activity

What can organisations do to address these challenges?

This is not a simple question to answer assuming their course of action has to be redefined holistically. The attempt to change into “green” industries is being made on many fronts revolving around improving environmental, social, and governance risks score (ESG). Below are some examples of the steps taken by organisations to meet Net Zero targets [12,13]:

  • Making changes in the supply chain and infrastructure to accommodate new needs
  • Internally re-organising
  • Marketing changes
  • Technological advancements & solutions – decarbonisation

What is the timeline for decarbonising?

An increasing number of countries announce pledges to achieve net zero emissions over the coming years with 2050 being set as the time limit for bringing global energy-related CO2 emissions to pre-industrial levels and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 ᵒC [14].

Is Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) technologies the holy grail of decarbonisation?

It is thought to be so and has therefore given rise to an abundance of R&D activities by organisations of every size, from majors to start-ups and spin-outs with the aim to decarbonise [14].

What are CCS technologies?

In broader terms, they essentially are technologies that aim to capture emitted CO2 at early stages after emission during industrial operations and store it safely where possible. These technologies have existed since the 1930s and have been used for natural gas, hydrogen and other gas purification purposes in industrial settings.  Carbon capture deployment is thought to be 90% effective and in some cases even 100%, meaning 90 to 100% of emitted gas is successfully captured. The deployment of such operations consists of capturing, transporting and storing the gas. The main and more established types of CCS technologies are summarized below [15]:

  • Post-combustion carbon capture typically used in existing power plants
  • Pre-combustion carbon capture suited for industrial processes
  • Oxy-fuel combustion systems by means of separating CO₂ from the exhaust of a combustion process used in post-combustion carbon capture
  • Carbon dioxide storage via Enhanced Oil Recovery (since the mid 70’s)

What are the challenges when deploying CCS tech?

As is the case with everything, CCS technologies have embedded limitations, risks and uncertainties. Significant progress being made on all fronts to make CCS technologies adhere by regulatory, health and safety and overall operational guidelines. The main challenges are listed below [16]:

  • Safety; slow and rapid leaks due to dispersion
  • Commercialisation, scale and cost
  • Suitability of storage sites
  • Induced seismicity due to increased pressure in aquifers/depleted reservoirs

What are the future CCS technologies?

Carbon Capture efforts were primarily made towards using the established technologies to reduce  GHGs  from the energy/power sectors until recently, however further research and development activities are necessary to reduce CCS costs and improve applicability of the solutions across all sectors [16,17]. The new technologies will be subject to testing against benchmarking tools such as Commercial Readiness Index (CRI) or the Technology Readiness Level (TRL).  Table 1 summarises emerging, new CCS technologies by sector:

Table 1. Summary of emerging Carbon Capture technologies by sector [16].


How is the  Oil and Gas (O&G) industry responding to  the Net-Zero and  CCS reality?

The majority of all CO2 captured globally (nearly 80%), is from oil and gas operations [18]. In addition to this, there’s a lot of change happening in the O&G scene and the majors are taking a principled approach towards the matter going as far as self-identifying as energy & utilities companies rather than oil and gas. As these were almost demonised by the public for emitting the majority of CO2, they are now handling with due care and diligence anything Net-Zero related, including CCS. The O&G old-guard are diversifying, switching to renewables and renaming their R&D departments along with re-allocating budgets. All this is a good start but are they the only ones that can provide CCS solutions on a scale sufficient to decarbonize the planet on top of being busy undergoing these major internal re-organisation changes?

What are the alternatives to the oil and gas majors that can provide CCS solutions?

As mentioned above, the effort to optimise and deploy these technologies or invent new is being made collectively by organisations of every size. So, although one would expect to only see the major oil and gas players in the CCS race (after all, they are to a large extent, responsible for the majority of emissions and possess the know-how and resource), smaller yet dynamic companies relentlessly work towards smart solutions in cluster and standalone projects and claim their space in the CCS market – a market totaling a valuation of around US$ 9 Billion by 2032 [19].

CCS innovative technologies:

Below is a selection of companies that provide state-of-the-art carbon solutions focusing on different aspects of the CCS market, namely in the capture, transport, storage and alternative carbon-reduction methods [17,20,21].

Carbon Clean (capture): Based in London, UK, Carbon Clean has been the provider of innovative services in carbon capture technology across a range of industries since 2010 enabling hard-to-abate industries to reach their Net-Zero targets. They are known for installing the first CCUS plant at Tuticorin Alkali Chemical and Fertilizer Ltd  in India. They offer technology licensing along with solvent supply and a full process design package with proprietary equipment. In addition, they offer end-to-end systems — including designing, building, financing and operation to meet client’s needs. Their latest innovation is CyclonneCC™, a modular, pre-fabricated and skid-mounted solution that reduces the overall cost of capturing carbon by up to 50%, making it a commercially feasible for more companies. The solution is at commercial stage at 10 TPD and 100 TPD with partners including CEMEX, Chevron and Veolia.

Torishima (transport & storage): Based in Japan with offices worldwide, Torishima provides a full range of specialty pumps designed for the applications needed within the high-emitting industry, ranging from carbon capture plants to carbon dioxide transport and storage. Their world-wide installation of pumps and their reliable service support network have been assisting companies to offset their carbon footprint for over 30 years. Their wide range of centrifugal pumps have optimum pump performance capabilities suited for CCS plants worldwide. Specific solutions include but are not limited to low and high pressure water intake and cooling, solvent handling and CO2 treatment.

Maxtube Ltd – Duoline Technologies (storage): With their HQ in Dubai, Duoline Technologies was founded in 1953 and became a Maxtube Group company in 2017. Starting as a designing company in the oilfield, along with providing installation and operation-related services with respect to saltwater gathering and disposal systems. Working in the oilfields services, culminated in the development of their DUOLINE lining process in 1963 to address downhole steel corrosion problems. Today, the DUOLINE 20 GRE fiberglass lined tubing is used extensively for CO2 injection wells and is constantly put to the test by Equinor, Oxy and ExxonMobil.

CAPTICO2 (alternative carbon reduction methods): Based in Bergen, Norway, CAPTICO2 secured a worldwide license for patented CO2 mineralisation technology in cooperation with Newcastle University, UK. This was followed by commercialisation in 2020 and a business expansion in the following years. CAPTICO2’s patented carbon mineralisation solution is a process whereby carbon dioxide does not need to be captured. Instead, pre-existing amount of CO2 in brine or seawater is converted by using a catalyst to significantly increase its mineralisation speed. The total cost for the deployment of this solution is estimated around EUR 30 – 40/t CO2.

Barton Blakeley Technologies (alternative carbon reduction methods): The previously spotlighted technology provider (see SAL’s previous tech-spotlight here) and based at Rothamsted Enterprises in Harpenden, UK, utilise scientific and industrial practices towards the development and deployment of this novel, reliable and low cost emission reducing technology. Their custom-made Hyper Xi system uses waste industrial emissions such as CO2 to produce products like XICOzA (a Barton Blakeley product), to replace industrial materials like silica, alumina and titania, providing a “green” alternative to these materials that are conventionally found in an abundance of markets (automotive, construction, pharma, cosmetics etc.). Barton Blakeley provide customised solutions with respect to the properties XICOzA, such as water affinity, thermal capacity and others, to meet individual needs, while keeping the production costs competitively low.

Heriot Watt University Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage (CICCS) (alternative carbon reduction methods): The Center for Innovation in CCS at Heriot-Watt University provides state of the art facilities that cover the entire CCS chain. This includes CCS rigs instrumentation for low temperature sorption and solvent based carbon dioxide research along with CO2 transport and autoclave reactors. In addition, they offer a range of photoreactors for fuel production. For all the above they have partnered with the Imperial College London, Leeds University  and the British Geological Survey (BGS) and have received  support from a number of funding bodies from industry and government. Heriot-Watt is the leading University that proudly established and endorsed The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) entitled GeoNetZero which is a new program of PhD research and training specifically set up to address crucial areas in science and engineering and their role in the Low Carbon Energy Transition and Challenge of Net Zero across the UK.


The bottom line

Carbon Capture technologies are proven to contribute to a lower GHG emissions future as well as to help achieve a circular economy via a number of established and emerging technologies as outlined above. Although much progress has been made there is still a lot to be done towards the realisation of a green and sustainable economy and the Net Zero 2050 goals. The role of governments and regulators is pivotal when it comes to facilitating the establishment and further development of CCS by means of setting supportive, stable and clear policies, such as regulatory levers, tax credits or public procurement. New capital is necessary to support ongoing operations as well as further research and development to bring CCS costs down to levels that allow adoption of these technologies by organisations of every scale to decarbonise the planet.

Our purpose: At SAL – Strategic Allies Ltd – we work closely with clients across industries on a range of projects to provide sustainable, green options based on our clients’ requirements to meet needs and help organisations achieve their Net-Zero aims. So please feel free to contact us, we would love to talk to you –  please contact John Allies at john@strategicallies.co.uk.



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  10.    Next Generation Carbon Capture Technology report, AECOM, 2022
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  12.    https://www.globalccsinstitute.com/news-media/insights/can-we-make-co2-capture-profitable/
  13.    Global status of CCS report, 2019 https://www.globalccsinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/GCC_GLOBAL_STATUS_REPORT_2019.pdf
  14.    Net Zero by 2050 A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, International Energy association https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050
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  17.    State of the art CCS technologies 2022 technical report CCS Institute, https://www.globalccsinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/State-of-the-Art-CCS-Technologies-2022.pdf
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  20.     https://bartonblakeley.com/
  21.     https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/schools/engineering-physical-sciences/institutes/mechanical-process-energy-engineering/centre-innovation-carbon-capture-storage-ciccs-.htm