Utilisation of captured CO2 – what are the climate and resource effects?


In this literature study, our senior researchers Ingunn Saur Modahl and Hanne Lerche Raadal have examined how different carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) routes perform environmentally. The study shows that CCU systems where CO2 is mineralised (trapped as a mineral) and used to replace cement have the best climate profile, and that these systems have a better climate performance than systems where CO2 is stored only (CCS).

Direct use of captured CO2, for example in greenhouses, also seems to be beneficial. For systems capturing CO2 for production of fuels and chemicals the results are diverging and dependent on a set of preconditions. The main issue for these systems is the large amount of electricity needed to transform the captured CO2. The study shows that production of CCU fuels or chemicals can be a good way of transforming and storing renewable electricity in cases of ‘electricity lock-in’, for example if substituting fossil electricity generation is not possible due to transmission line capacity, or in the future when fossil electricity production is less relevant. In all other cases, the electricity needed for transforming CO2 into fuels or chemicals should rather be used to substitute fossil electricity sources.

The study has focused on finding reliable and quality assured Life Cycle Assessment-based results for climate change and use of resources. Recommended methodology regarding system boundaries, the use of system expansion to solve multifunctionality and the inclusion of reference systems has been in focus when searching for literature.

The researchers have aimed for making a factual basis in this debated topic, and hope that the study can give input to further research and political priorities for the reduction of climate change burdens and use of recources. Read the full report here

This report is a delivery in the ‘CCUS Verdiskapingspotensialet – næringsutvikling og innovasjon’ project by CCUS Norway for the Viken region.