Carbon Capture and Storage
There is no single solution to the urgent challenge of cutting carbon emissions to limit global temperature rise. Carbon capture and storage offers a way to reduce emissions from sectors that are hard-to-decarbonise. Find out more about this technology and how Shell is working to unlock its potential around the world.
Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, is a combination of technologies that capture and store carbon dioxide deep underground, preventing its release into the atmosphere.
At Shell, we believe that CCS will be essential for helping society to achieve net-zero emissions. Our ambition is to work with governments, customers, and partners to unlock the potential for CCS around the world.
Shell’s target is to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, and we know that our business plans need to change to make this happen. Our priority is to avoid emissions, for example by adopting solutions that are emissions-free when used. When this isn’t possible, we work to reduce emissions, for example by making use of lower-carbon fuels and technologies like CCS. If it is not possible to either avoid or reduce emissions, we will turn to the compensation of emissions, such as using carbon credits.
Capturing and safely storing carbon is an option that’s available now. It can help us reduce the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere and even be used to remove existing carbon, something that is critical for the long-term health of our planet.
How does CCS work?
CCS prevents the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. It is generally used to help decarbonise industrial processes, such as the production of steel, cement, or chemicals, or to help decarbonise power stations that use hydrocarbons to generate electricity. These are all areas where there are not currently scalable low-carbon alternatives to the oil and gas they use.
In CCS facilities, CO2 is first separated from any other gases produced. It is then compressed and transported via pipe or ship to locations where it can be stored. Finally, the CO2 is injected into geological formations deep underground for permanent storage.
Take a look at the process below for more details:
Accessible version of the CCS visual
This visual shows the carbon capture and storage process in four numbered sections: capture, transport, storage and measuring, monitoring and verification. Above the visual is a text explanation of each section:
- Capture – CO2 capture separates CO2 from gas before it is emitted using a chemical solvent. The captured CO2 is separated from the solvent and compressed into a liquid form for transport.
- Transport – CO2 is generally pumped through a pipeline, taking the CO2 from the industrial site where it has been produced to its storage site, which may be onshore or offshore.
- Storage – CO2 is injected deep underground into the microscopic spaces in porous rocks. A layer of impermeable rock, called a cap rock, lies directly above the porous rocks ensuring that the CO2 remains there permanently.
- Measuring, monitoring and verification – Monitoring of storage sites takes place within the storage reservoir, as well as at the injection well, where sensors can detect small changes in pressure or CO2 levels. In addition, a number of monitoring technologies can be incorporated within the geosphere, biosphere and atmosphere surrounding the storage site to make sure the CO2 is permanently stored.
Developing and deploying Shell CCS technology
Shell is also a leading provider of CO2 capture technologies which we use and license to help our customers reduce their emissions.
Shell’s ADIP-ULTRA solvent technology provides pre-combustion CO2 removal and has been applied to more than 500 units around the world, including the Shell operated Quest project in Canada. On Quest, the ADIP technology is used to capture the CO2 from three hydrogen manufacturing units. The CO2 is then compressed and piped 65 km to three wells which inject the CO2 two kilometers underground. Find out more.
Shell’s Cansolv technology works by capturing CO2 post-combustion. Shell licenses the Cansolv technology across multiple industries including power, steel, cement and refining. At the start of 2022, it was announced that Shell’s Cansolv technology would be fitted to the gas emitting stacks of the VPI Immingham power station in the UK. There, the technology will capture up to 95% of the CO2 in the gas, preventing it from being emitted into the atmosphere and allowing it to be compressed, transported and safely stored.
In Canada, the Shell Cansolv system has been installed on one unit of the Boundary Dam power station where it captures around 1 million tonnes of CO2 a year. Boundary Dam is SaskPower’s largest coal-fired power station and a significant source of power for the region.
In Norway, the Technology Centre Mongstad, or TCM, is the world’s largest test centre for developing CO2 capture technologies. Able to simulate real-world conditions to test mature and emerging CCS technologies, the work done at TCM helps to reduce the costs and risks associated with carbon capture technology deployment. TCM is owned by the Norwegian State through Gassnova together with Shell, Equinor and TotalEnergies.
One of the biggest challenges associated with CCS is the transportation of captured CO2 between capture sites and storage locations. For the most part, CCS is transported by pipeline. However, where a pipeline is not feasible, shipping can provide an effective and efficient method of transporting CO2 in bulk. Shell Shipping and Maritime has played an active role in the development and procurement of the world’s first vessels specifically designed to carry liquid CO2 derived from CCS.
To find out more about Shell’s CCS technology, visit our Catalysts and Technologies site. More details of some of our partnerships and processes can be found at the Shell Catalysts and Technologies LinkedIn Site.
The future of CCS
Most climate scientists are clear that the world needs CCS technology if society is to achieve net zero emissions. Shell is currently investigating more CCS opportunities in the North Sea, Americas and Asia and we seek to have access to 25 million tonnes of CO2 per annum of CCS capacity by 2035.
In many countries there isn’t currently sufficient regulatory support or a clear business model for. To address these challenges, Shell is advocating for policy mechanisms that drive deployment of CCS at scale, and industry partnerships to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors. Read more about Shell’s CCS policy positions.
Latest Shell CCS news
Shell partners with CNOOC, Guangdong Government, ExxonMobil on offshore carbon capture and storage hub in China
Shell has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CNOOC, Guangdong Provincial Development and Reform Commission and ExxonMobil to explore the feasibility of developing a carbon capture and storage (CCS) hub in the Daya Bay National Economic and Technological Development Zone in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China.
SC&T will provide the carbon capture technology to capture millions of tonnes of CO₂ from VPI Immingham.
Shell’s Cansolv* CO₂ technology chosen for one of the world’s largest carbon capture projects at a gas-fired cogeneration power station
Shell Catalysts & Technologies supports Calpine’s post-combustion CO2 capture facility based on Shell’s Cansolv CO2 technology.
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