What is Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage?

Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) is an integrated suite of technologies that can prevent large quantities of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO₂) from being released into the atmosphere.

Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage or CCUS is a term that refers to technologies that capture the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) and store it safely underground so that it does not contribute to climate change. CCUS includes capturing CO2 from both large emission sources (referred to as point-source capture) and directly from the atmosphere.

Point-source capture is when a large emission source, like an industrial facility, is equipped with technology allowing the capture and diversion to storage of CO2, preventing it from being emitted. It is also possible to remove historical CO2 emissions already in the atmosphere through direct air capture and storage (DACCS) or bioenergy with capture and storage (BECCS).

CCUS can be applied across sectors vital to our economy, including cement, steel, fertilizers, power generation and natural gas processing, and can be used to produce clean hydrogen. Learn more about CCUS here.

Step 1: CO2 capture from industrial plants. Step 2: Liquid CO2 is transported by pipeline or ship. Step 3: CO2 is injected deep underground for permanent storage.

How Does CCS Work?

Carbon capture and storage involves three steps – capture, transport, and storage. 

Step 1: Capture
During capture, CO2 is separated from other gases produced at large industrial facilities – such as steel mills, cement plants, petrochemical facilities, coal, and gas power plants – or from the atmosphere. There are several capture methods in use – all are proven and effective, with different methods applied based on the emissions source.
Step 2: Transport
Once separated, the CO2 is compressed for transportation. This means increasing pressure so that the CO2 behaves like a liquid. The compressed CO2 is then dehydrated before being sent to the transport system. Pipelines are the most common mode of transport for large quantities of CO2. For some regions of the world, CO2 transport by ship is an alternative.
Step 3: Storage
Following transport, the CO2 is injected into deep underground rock formations, often at depths of one kilometer or more, where it is safely and permanently stored. These rock formations are consistent with what has held oil and gas underground for millions of years. Nearly 300 million tonnes of CO2 has already been safely and successfully injected underground. Fortunately, there is an abundance of storage available around the world.
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The acceleration of CCUS technology is critical to reducing carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions and reducing the costs of tackling the climate crisis.

CCUS and Climate Change

Climate change is the most urgent challenge facing humanity today, and the science is clear that we must use every tool at our disposal to avoid the worst of its impacts. CCUS plays an essential role in mitigating climate change, complementing energy efficiency, renewable power, electrification, nature-based solutions and other approaches.

CCUS Facts

Is CCUS proven? Is it safe? Is it cost-effective? Is it necessary? Learn more about the reality of CCUS, and why it is so important.