Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) Policy Framework

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    In News

    • NITI Aayog has recently released a study report on Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) Policy Framework and its Deployment Mechanism in India.

    About the Framework

    • The report explores the importance of Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage as an emission reduction strategy
    • The report outlines broad level policy interventions needed across various sectors for its application.
    • India’s per capita CO2 emissions were about 1.9 tonnes per annum which is less than 40% of the global average and about one-fourth of that of China.

    What is Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS)?

    • It aims to reduce carbon emission by either storing or reusing it so that captured carbon dioxide does not enter the atmosphere.
    • It’s a three-step process involving: capturing the carbon dioxide produced by power generation or industrial activity, such as steel or cement making; transporting it; and then storing it deep underground.
      • It is the technology for decarbonising carbon dioxide (CO2) from high polluting sectors such as steel, cement, oil, gas, petrochemicals, chemicals and fertilisers.
      • Possible storage sites for carbon emissions include saline aquifers or depleted oil and gas reservoirs.
    • It would help in promoting the low carbon-hydrogen economy and in removal of the CO2 stock from the atmosphere.

    Major Challenges

    • High Cost: the key challenge would be to reduce the cost of the mechanisms to implement the technology.
    • The private sector is unlikely to invest in CCUS unless there are sufficient incentives or unless it can benefit from the sale of CO2 or gain credits for emissions avoided under carbon pricing regimes.
    • CO2 Transport and Storage Sites Could Be Dangerous: While accident rates during the transport of CO2 are relatively low, the potential for a dangerous leak still exists.
    • Security concerns: Because the gas is highly toxic and leakages in high quantity at such sites would render the air largely unbreathable.

    Significance of the move

    • Production of Clean products: CCUS can enable the production of clean products while still utilising our rich endowments of coal and reducing imports and thus leading to an Atmanirbhar Indian economy.
    • Decarbonising various sectors: Implementation of CCUS technology is certainly an important step to decarbonise the hard-to-abate sector.
    • The projects will also lead to a significant employment generation.
      • It estimates that about 750 mtpa of carbon capture by 2050 can create employment opportunities of about 8-10 million on full time equivalent (FTE) basis in a phased manner.
    • It can Reduce the Social Cost of Carbon: The social cost of carbon is a value of the estimated costs and benefits to society from climate change caused by one additional metric ton of CO2 released into the atmosphere in a year.
    • Circular economy: It can provide a wide variety of opportunities to convert the captured CO2 to different value-added products like: 
      • Green urea
      • Food and beverage form application
      • Building materials (concrete and aggregates)
      • Chemicals (methanol and ethanol)
      • Polymers (including bioplastics)
      • Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) with wide market opportunities in India, thus contributing substantially to a circular economy. 
    • Sunrise sectors: It has an important role to play in enabling sunrise sectors such as coal gasification and the nascent hydrogen economy in India.
    • Enrich concrete: Captured CO2 could be used to strengthen concrete, leading to increased infrastructure durability.

    India’s updated NDC

    • Achieving 50% of its total installed capacity from non-fossil-based energy sources.
    • 45% reduction in emission intensity by 2030.
    • Taking steps towards achieving Net Zero by 2070.

    Way forward 

    • There will be a positive impact on the economy if we are able to get value-added products such as green methanol, green ammonia that can be produced from this captured CO2.
    • India’s dependency on fossil-based Energy Resources is likely to continue in future and hence CCUS policy in Indian Context is the need of the hour.
    • Key to a successful CCUS implementation in India is to enact a policy framework that supports the creation of sustainable and viable markets for CCUS projects.
    • The policy should be carbon credits or incentives based to seed and promote the CCUS sector in India through tax and cash credits.
    • The policy should establish early-stage financing and funding mechanisms for CCUS projects.

    Source: PIB