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Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage The Last Mile of Decarbonization

Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) is the last mile of decarbonization as it can be an engine to drive clean, sustainable growth for industries and help them in low carbon transformation. In this session, professionals from ITRI, China Steel Corporation (CSC), CPC Corporation, and Taiwan Power Company gathered to discuss how heavy industry is employing CCUS technology and applications, along with their progress, strategies, and targets on carbon reduction.

Tzong-Ming Lee, Vice President and General Director of the Material and Chemical Research Laboratories at ITRI, highlighted the importance of carbon recovery on the road to achieving net-zero emissions. He pointed out that the concentration of CO2 in flue gas is only about 10~15%, usually disposed of as waste. When the carbon dioxide concentration increases above 99% by the carbon capture process, the captured carbon dioxide can be used as feedstocks of petrochemicals to make everyday products. “In the future, those who can harness carbon will have everything. Carbon dioxide will definitely create new value and business opportunities,” Lee said.

“In the future, those who can harness the use of carbon will have everything. CO2 will definitely create new value and business opportunities.”
Tzong-Ming Lee, ITRI VP and General Director

Chun-Hsiang Wen, Division Director of the Material and Chemical Research Laboratories at ITRI, expressed that the price of emissions allowances traded on the ETS has already exceeded €90 per ton and surpassed the carbon capture cost at an average of €60 per ton, which helps accelerate the implementation of CCUS. Deputy Division Director Hsi-Yen Hsu pointed out that technology for turning CO2 into methane, methanol, and carbon monoxide is relatively mature now and can be easily adopted by industries, preferably the upstream petrochemical sectors. Applications in mid-/downstream manufacturers may include converting CO2 into PU products. The development of eco-friendly and non-toxic NIPU products can even be applied to eco-friendly synthetic leather, furniture and home decor surface materials, and waterproof, anti-skid coating.

Experts from ITRI, CSC, CPC and Taipower traded ideas and experiences on CCUS.

Experts from ITRI, CSC, CPC and Taipower traded ideas and experiences on CCUS.

CSC President Shyi-Chin Wang mentioned that companies now are feeling pressure from clients to cut carbon. For instance, CSC was required to expand the use of recycled materials across its products: 8% for last year, 20% this year, and 40% and 50%, respectively in the coming two years. To achieve such goals, CSC is working with chemical engineering plants on processing captured CO and CO2 into high-value chemical products, which leads to a carbon reduction of 2.9 million tons in a year.

“It’s not good enough if only CSC is doing this. As a major player in Taiwan’s steel industry chain, we are keen to assist others in carbon reduction measures, such as helping local steel businesses set up carbon footprint verification systems,” said Wang. CSC also established a research center for hydrogen production and processing to investigate potential green energy sources.

The power sector is the main contributor to carbon emissions in Taiwan, and CCUS plays a role in clean energy transitions. Division Director Gene-Zone Wong of the Material and Chemical Research Laboratories at ITRI, suggested that there will be approximately 100 million kWh of electricity associated with CCUS in Taiwan by 2050. “Taipower’s Carbon Reduction Technology Park in Taichung is an example of adopting CCS systems with the support of ITRI,” he illustrated.

Taiwan Power Research Institute General Manager Nien-Mien Chung stated that Taipower is aware that it is one of Taiwan’s major carbon emitters and is committed to working on reducing carbon emission to reach net zero emissions. The company aims to use carbon-free fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia in the future, and eventually limit the percentage of fossil fuels usage for combustion to only 20%-30% by 2050.

“We must deploy CCUS widely to reduce significant amount of CO2 emission,” Chung said. Taipower is the first state-owned company to build a carbon capture and storage plant. This plant has installed small-scale carbon capture equipment at its own micro-testing area, and has proven its capability of recovering carbon dioxide from flue gas at over 90%. The goal is to capture 2,000 tons of CO2 annually in its next phase, and then scale up the capture rate to 1 million tons per year in 2025~2035.

In the oil and gas industry, CPC Refining & Manufacturing Research Institute Deputy Director Yi-Ping Wang was invited to share CPC’s experience. She remarked that every CPC refinery has set a goal of 1.7% annual rate for carbon emission reduction. The company is also working on CCUS from two aspects. The first is to strengthen R&D technology establishment in carbon capture and utilization, including catalyst development, energy consumption control, and related process design. For example, a small pilot plant will be built to verify the technology of CO2 capture and conversion of captured CO2 into methanol. The second is to introduce the commercial manufacturing process and lay out schedules. CPC plans to install carbon capture equipment for 1 million tons of carbon by 2030 and currently introduces relevant technology and conducts feasibility assessments proactively.

Petroleum giant ExxonMobil estimates that in 2040 the potential global market for CCUS will reach US$2 trillion, with a 35% annual increase. CCUS will undoubtedly drive new industry chains and business models as it allows investors to develop new infrastructure and systems at the core of a net zero economy.