PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Australian carbon reduction technology investment company Low Emission Technology Australia (LETA) has welcomed the International Energy Agency's (IEA's) inclusion of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), as well as hydrogen, as critical components to reach global net zero targets.
In its latest Net Zero Roadmap, the IEA stated that CCUS, hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels, and sustainable bioenergy were critical to achieve net zero emissions; rapid progress is needed by 2030.
“The history of CCUS has largely been one of underperformance. Although the recent surge of announced projects for CCUS and hydrogen is encouraging, the majority have yet to reach final investment decision and need further policy support to boost demand and facilitate new enabling infrastructure,” the IEA said this week.
“The world is set to invest a record $1.8-trillion in clean energy in 2023: this needs to climb to around $4.5-trillion a year by the early 2030s to be in line with our pathway,” the IEA found.
The report highlighted that over 45 countries are now developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.
The report also emphasised the significance of CCS hubs, which can foster economies of scale, benefiting a broader range of emitters from hard-to-abate sectors such as steel and cement.
The roadmap places significant emphasis on the expanding role of low emissions hydrogen, which is expected to account for 4% of cumulative emissions reduction with demand for this clean low carbon fuel from power generation, hydrogen-based transport fuels, and iron and steel production.
While demand for hydrogen is rising, low-emissions hydrogen from electrolysis, or fossil fuels with high levels of capture, still accounted for less than one-million tonnes of the 95-million tonnes produced in 2022. However, by 2050, hydrogen produced from fossil fuels with CCUS could account for 89-million tonnes of the total hydrogen production.
LETA said on Wednesday that Australia was perfectly positioned to leverage this momentum, with expansive safe and permanent carbon storage potential, state-of-the-art research and development capabilities, and large-scale sources of hydrogen found in Australia’s coal and natural gas resources.
“Playing to our strengths, LETA envisions Australia standing at the forefront in the deployment and scaling of CCS technologies and delivering the large volumes of clean low carbon hydrogen that the IEA predicts will be required to meet our global net zero targets,” LETA CEO Mark McCallum said.
He noted that while the report's findings were encouraging, there remained a vast gap between the present status of these technologies and where they needed to be by 2030 in Australia.
“We urgently call on the Australian government to support Australia’s natural strengths in CCS and low carbon hydrogen technologies and allow all technologies to play their part in curbing emissions and drive the transition to a cleaner future.
“Governments across Australia can support considerable acceleration in the rollout of CCS and low carbon hydrogen projects, with a vital focus on reducing lead times, establishing and partnering with industry in CCS industrial hubs, firming up our safe and permanent carbon storage resources, as well as supporting emerging market demand side initiatives.
“The insights and recommendations of the IEA around the roles of carbon capture technologies and low carbon hydrogen are compelling and should not be ignored,” McCallum said.
“The IEA roadmap has laid out a clear path, and for Australia it represents a great opportunity to accelerate our steps towards a sustainable future for ourselves and our region.”