Projects Database

CO2 utilisation

There is increasing attention being given to (non-EOR) CO2 utilisation. Specifically, a number of facilities that use CO2 in products or to support operations have been constructed or announced this decade, often associated with increasing urea and / or methanol production or for use in the food and beverage industry.

It is important to note that not all CO2 utilisation options will necessarily contribute to longer term climate change mitigation. The impact on climate mitigation will depend on the fate of the utilised CO2; for example, CO2 used in the food and beverage industry has a CO2 storage lifetime counted in 'days to years' as opposed to 'centuries'. When used for urea and methanol production enhancement, the CO2 storage lifetime can be counted as 'less than a decade'. Nevertheless, there is scope for the re-use of CO2 to reduce the environmental footprint of existing chemical processes (for example, efficiency gains in plastics manufacture by displacing a less efficient process).

Notwithstanding the above points, the market for products derived from non-EOR use of CO2 is small relative to what is needed to be stored in order to limit global temperature rise to 'well below 2°C' - a cumulative 90 Gigatonnes of CO2 captured and stored in the period to 2050 (IEA modelling supporting analysis in the 2016 Energy Technology Perspectives report). This highlights the importance of policies and programs that encourage the exploration and appraisal of significant CO2 storage capacity.

This page highlights a sampling of facilities that use CO2 across the globe; many of these facilities are at a scale of 400 tonnes per day or more of CO2 use. Deployment of facilities that use CO2 can provide experience in the operation of capture technologies that will support further scale up to full chain CCS deployment. Transporting the CO2 from the production site to the use site requires the same infrastructure that would be needed to transport CO2 to a permanent storage site, such experience further emphasising the mature nature of CO2 transportation.

A fuller discussion of the status of a number of CO2 utilisation technologies can be found in a report commissioned by the Institute on Accelerating the Uptake of CCS: Industrial Use of Captured Carbon Dioxide (March 2011).


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