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McKinsey & CCUS: where and how to capture, use, and store gigatons of CO2?

Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) is one suite of technologies that offers solutions for many hard-to-abate sectors such as petrochemicals, steel, cement, fertilizers. However, according to McKinsey, global CCUS uptake needs to expand 120 times from current levels by 2050, rising to at least 4.2 gigatons per annum of CO2 captured, for countries to achieve their net-zero commitments.

There are two routes for captured CO2:

  • CCU, utilization by converting into products such as fuels, chemicals, and building materials

  • CCS, permanent storage, e.g. for enhanced oil and gas recovery (EOR/EGR)

Although CCU has the added benefit over CCS of generating revenue from products, the potential as a whole is highly dependent on factors including the emissions source, industry, capture technology, transportation, as well as location and type of storage.

Dispersion of emissions points leads to high costs and economically challenges most CCUS projects. As capture and transport costs would also need to be offset, the concept of hubbing becomes relevant. According to McKinsey, there would be five emerging archetypes:

  • Large emitter-dominated hubs, such as near power plants, large iron, steel, or cement facilities

  • Cross-industry hubs, basically industrial parks

  • Storage-led hubs, near ports for shipping and geological storage formations

  • Smaller, higher-purity emitter hubs, near ethanol biorefineries as an example

  • Carbon-removal-led hubs, near pipelines, CO2 processing centers such as synfuels, sustainable aviation fuels

Click at the image below to read more, including how to accelerate the development of these hubs.


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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