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Carbon capture projects at 34% CAGR

Circling back for a moment to highlight this report from the Global CCS Institute in October, which showed that carbon capture projects have grown by 44% in 2022.

The number of projects (196 in the pipeline) actually understates the trend. The capacity of CCS projects has nearly doubled from 49.4 Mtpa in 2021 to 97.6 Mtpa in 2022.

Notable project developments in the past year include Drax Power Station in the UK announcing the world's largest bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) project and the Klemetsrud Waste-to-Energy CCS project in Norway securing funding and moving to the construction phase. Additionally, the world's first commercial direct air capture with carbon storage (DACCS) facility, ORCA, was commissioned in Iceland by Climeworks to store 4,000 tons per year.. The follow-up MAMMOTH project announced shortly after will store 36,000 tons/yr. These are both a far cry from ambitions for millions of tons per year in capture, but have the advantage that they appear to have a high chance of success.

The US leads the way in facility count growth with 34 new projects since 2021, followed by Canada with 19, the UK with 13, and Norway with 8. Australia, the Netherlands, and Iceland have also each announced six new projects. The project pipeline, in terms of facility numbers and capture capacity, is now at a record high, with capture capacity growing at a compound rate of over 34% per annum since 2017.

At this pace, carbon capture capacity in pipeline would have risen about 10X, to 2.3 GT/yr by the end of 2030. For comparison, total current power emissions are about 10 GT/yr, and this number is expected to fall over time as coal plants are replaced with renewables. So it seems unlikely that this kind of growth can sustain over the long term unless DAC prices fall substantially. Nonetheless, even coming close to this number would be a remarkable achievement.

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