Capturing and burying the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from power stations is viable – but long-term government support will be needed, a report says.
Specialists in technology and economics spent two years researching the issue for the UK Energy Research Council.
The government recently announced a £1bn fund to help carbon capture and storage (CCS) develop; but the report says wider support is needed.
CCS is widely seen as an important part of a low-carbon electricity system.
“CCS is seen as the key to many scenarios of how to mitigate climate change, whether that’s the UK meeting its targets on cutting emissions or global targets that keep warming below 2C,” said the report’s lead author Dr Jim Watson, director of the energy research group at Sussex University.
“But unlike other low-carbon technologies, CCS doesn’t exist at the commercial scale. We don’t know when they will be technically proven at full scale, and whether costs will be competitive with other low-carbon options.
“So it is vital that the government’s commitment leads to several full-scale CCS projects as soon as possible; only through such learning by doing will we know whether it is a serious option for the future.”