BANGKOK: International locations in Southeast Asia might want to harness new applied sciences to seize and retailer carbon emitted by fossil gas industries in the event that they wish to attain their future local weather change targets, in accordance with specialists.
A report revealed by the Worldwide Power Company (IEA) in June mentioned that the area would want to quick speed up its collective funding in carbon seize applied sciences, to the tune of a median of US$1 billion per yr between 2025 and 2030, or threat lacking Paris Settlement temperature targets.
That may imply growing seize potential from basically zero in the present day as much as 200 million tonnes or extra by 2050.
Globally, the IEA in its separate Web Zero by 2050 Roadmap states that carbon seize, utilisation and storage (CCUS) applied sciences will have to be answerable for greater than 10 per cent of cumulative emissions reductions.
CCUS works in several methods, however its core precept is to assemble carbon dioxide from polluting sources earlier than it reaches the environment after which convert it into one thing helpful or retailer it away underground over the long run.
The principle goal of CCUS is industrial processes the place lowering emissions stays tough, reminiscent of within the manufacturing of cement, metal and chemical substances, in addition to soiled energy era.
At the moment, many of those seize applied sciences are largely untried, non-commercialised and extremely costly.
Globally, there are simply 21 initiatives at present in operation. There are none in Southeast Asia however 4 of them – in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Timor‑Leste – are in some type of growth. The effectiveness of Australia’s solely venture has been hampered this yr by sand clogging.
Nonetheless, the looming local weather disaster – and growing regional energy wants – has escalated the urgency to try to roll out carbon seize, regardless of the challenges.
“The world is chasing CCUS applied sciences as a result of there are restricted choices to mitigate the local weather change influence on the pace and scale wanted to stay throughout the obtainable carbon funds,” mentioned Prakash Sharma, the top of markets and transitions for Wooden Mackenzie Asia Pacific, a world power analysis and consultancy group.
“The momentum is constructing little question. Though the initiatives are concentrated in Europe and the US, the exercise is gaining tempo in Australia, China and Southeast Asia,” he mentioned.
Southeast Asia continues to lean closely on fossil fuels like coal for energy era, and a few vegetation have a few years of operation forward of them. On the identical time, the uptake of renewable electrical energy has been sluggish in a number of nations.
“ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO ESTIMATE THE COSTS”
IEA mentioned that CCUS may also help the clear transition by permitting closely polluting energy stations and industrial services which have solely not too long ago been constructed to proceed working, with “considerably decreased emissions” through retrofitting.
“The expertise may be an vital pillar for serving to the area transition from its present power combine to at least one that’s aligned with future local weather targets,” the IEA report acknowledged.
However there’s additionally criticism of the pursuit of speculative expertise with lengthy growth occasions, heavy reliance on authorities funding and few indicators of costs coming down.
“Let’s be clear right here, CCUS has many points: It is massively costly, not commercially viable, and if deployed with the likes of a coal plant, would nonetheless result in emissions from coal,” mentioned Invoice Hare, CEO of non-profit organisation Local weather Analytics.
“CCUS just isn’t commercially viable regardless of substantial political and monetary assist for growing the expertise globally. It’s virtually inconceivable to estimate the prices, as a result of the expertise is solely not obtainable, at scale, anyplace on the earth, and is unlikely to change into so quickly.
“For too a few years the coal business has used the promise of CCUS as a method of prolonging its use. The perfect software to sort out local weather change in Southeast Asia is by switching from coal to renewable power,” he added.
Whatever the criticism, there’s assist from governments, funding banks and personal firms to construct up CCUS capability. That is regardless of a lack of regulatory frameworks to assist it presently.
The Asia Growth Financial institution (ADB), which has been a eager supporter of CCUS, continues to assist nations of their early work to construct up regional capability. It has known as carbon seize a “sport changer” and is getting ready a long-term plan for mass deployment sooner or later.
“CCUS is a compelling expertise for Southeast Asia as a result of each fossil gas manufacturing and use within the area,” mentioned David Elzinga, a senior power specialist at ADB.
“Going ahead, because the expertise and processes develop, we count on to see larger CCUS actions within the energy, cement, and iron and metal sectors.”
Wooden Mackenzie has additionally launched a latest report highlighting the advantages of CCUS and has carried out analysis on figuring out land that could possibly be finest utilised to retailer carbon.
Largely, depleted oil and gasoline fields and different deep geological formations are seen as the most effective choices. At current, exploration is underway in numerous such areas off the coast of Malaysia, Indonesia and Timor Leste.
In February, Exxon Mobil introduced a CCUS hub idea, with a plan to seize carbon emissions from Singaporean manufacturing services.
“Southeast Asia might supply carbon storage companies from mature oil and gasoline fields to abroad firms and generate new income streams,” mentioned Sharma of Wooden Mackenzie.
It’s an space the place regional cooperation might assist decrease prices and maximise efficiencies.
Wooden Mackenzie discovered that scaling up initiatives to search out economies of scale will likely be important, with plans for carbon seize clusters with linked transport infrastructure a blueprint for future CCUS initiatives.
In its report, the IEA gave the instance of the Northern Lights CO2 transport and storage venture in Norway, which is able to settle for captured carbon from services throughout Europe.
There are indicators that this form of regional cooperation has already begun in Southeast Asia.
In 2020, Singapore signed an MOU with Australia to advertise low carbon expertise, with CCUS thought-about a precedence, on high of a S$49 million Low-Carbon Power Analysis Funding Initiative.
READ: Singapore looking to develop, deploy low-carbon technologies as part of climate action efforts
Final month, officers from ASEAN, Japan, Australia and the USA agreed on an initiative – dubbed the Asia CCUS Community – to advertise new venture growth and in addition assist to establish appropriate land for carbon storage.
“The community will bridge the information hole between the West and Asia when it comes to CCUS expertise and coverage growth. Due to this fact, we see excessive momentum,” mentioned Dr Han Phoumin, a senior power economist on the Financial Analysis Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
He says he expects ASEAN governments to ramp up their home insurance policies on CCUS within the close to future and believes it should change into commercially viable after 2030.
“Decarbonisation by way of CCUS expertise is extraordinarily vital,” he mentioned “Happily, there’s a giant potential of CO2 storage within the Southeast Asia area. Plenty of funding will likely be wanted.”