IEA (2022), CO2 storage resources and their development, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/co2-storage-resources-and-their-development, License: CC BY 4.0
Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies provide significant decarbonisation potential and their widespread deployment is an integral part of a lower-cost and more attainable net zero future. In the IEA Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (Net Zero Scenario), some 5.9 Gt of CO2 are captured and stored in 2050. This requires significant expansion of dedicated CO2 storage capacity since today around 10 Mt of CO2 is injected annually into dedicated CO2 storage sites.
For CCUS technologies to achieve their CO2 management potential, a significant and expedient scale-up of CO2 storage from the megatonne to gigatonne scale is required. Access to effective and secure CO2 storage enables widespread deployment of CO2 capture technologies during energy transitions, making it the most pivotal component of the CO2 management value chain. Without confidence in CO2 storage availability, the decarbonisation potential of CCUS technologies is significantly reduced. Additionally, technology-based CO2 removals – bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and direct air capture with storage (DACS) – require CO2 storage.
A gap is developing between ambitions to develop CO2 capture and ambitions to develop CO2 storage. Without urgent and concerted action by the public and private sectors to accelerate CO2 storage assessment and development, this gap may continue to grow, risking negative final investment decisions (FIDs) on capture facilities or inefficient investment.
To deploy CO2 storage on a gigatonne scale, storage resources need to be assessed and developed, storage activities need to be regulated, a market for CO2 storage needs to be built, and policy needs to be designed to support this. The energy sector should consider the role CO2 storage will play in its decarbonisation. Storage deployment can be supported by stakeholders across the energy sector and both the public and private sectors can play a role. To that end, the IEA has identified several major technical, economic, policy, and legal and regulatory considerations that feed into the deployment of CO2 storage infrastructure.