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IEA: CO2 Capture Not Just for Coal

Capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants and industrial sources on a commercial scale with 100 projects worldwide by 2020 and 3,000 projects by 2050 will require trillions of dollars of investment, according to a report released last Tuesday by the International Energy Agency (IEA) at the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum Ministerial in London.

Not just a strategy for clean coal, CCS must also be applied to biomass and gas power plants, the report said, as well as in the fuel transformation and gas processing sectors and emissions-intensive industrial sectors, such as cement, iron and steel production.

The carbon capture and storage (CCS) "road map" envisions an additional investment of more than US$2.5-3 trillion from 2010 to 2050, "which is about 6% of the overall investment needed to achieve a 50% reduction in GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions by 2050," the report said. "OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] governments will need to increase funding for CCS demonstration projects to an average annual level of US$3.5-4 billion from 2010 to 2020."

The developed world must lead CCS efforts, but the technology must spread quickly to the developing world, IEA said. "This growth will require expanded international collaboration and financing for CCS demonstration in developing countries at an average annual level of US$1.5-2.5 billion from 2010 to 2020.

"There is an urgent need to advance the state of global knowledge of CO2 storage prospectivity," the report said. "While depleted oil and gas fields are well mapped and offer promising low-cost opportunities, deep saline formations are the most viable option for the long term. However, only a few regions have adequately mapped the CO2 storage potential of these formations."

The report is available on the IEA website.

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