What is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)?

Why Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)?

CCS is short for carbon capture and storage and refers to the capturing, transporting and storage of CO₂. In English we use the word Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and this acronym is also frequently used in Norwegian.

CCS is a tool to limit the amount of CO₂ emitted to the atmosphere by capturing CO2 and thereafter storing it safely for example in underground geological formations. According to the Global CCS Institute (GCCSI), there are currently 19 large scale projects in operation and four new projects in construction with a total capacity close to 40 million tonnes of CO₂.

CO₂ Capture

CO₂ can be captured from flue gases, from power plants and industrial processes.

CO₂ is a natural component in natural gas and can be separated from the rest of the gas as part of the gas treatment process needed in order to achieve necessary quality of the natural gas. Capturing CO₂ from low pressure flue gases from power plants or industrial processes is more difficult and energy intensive than capturing CO₂ from high pressure natural gas.

There are several different technologies available for capturing CO₂ from flue gases and a few of these have been and are currently being tested at the Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM). More information about different capture technologies can be found at the Gassnova webpages.


CO₂ Transport

CO₂ can be transported in pipelines or in tanks on ships and trucks. Which alternative to choose depends generally on the amount of CO₂ to be transported and the distance between capture site and storage facility. Typically transport by ship is favourable for not too large CO₂ amounts and fairly long distances. Pipeline transport is normally more suitable for larger amounts of CO₂ and somewhat shorter distances.


CO₂ storage

It is possible to safely store large amounts of CO₂ on the Norwegian continental shelf. In Norway we are only looking at CO2 storage offshore below the sea bed. On the continental shelf we have access to large geological formations of depths where amongst others favourable pressure and temperature conditions prevent CO₂ from migrating through layers of sand and rock towards the surface. The Petroleum Directorate has developed a storage atlas that gives an overview of possible storage locations on the Norwegian continental shelf.


Why do we spend large amounts of money on CCS in Norway?

Norway wants to contribute to reducing the global greenhouse gas emissions. The government therefore wants to contribute to developing CCS technology that can be shared internationally. In order to achieve the required amount of CCS projects needed, the technology has to be further developed and costs have to come down. Currently CCS is too costly for commercial industry to tackle the development on their own. Norway has good capabilities in technology development and we have strong experience in safely storing CO2 underground. This puts us in a good position to contribute to the development of CCS globally.