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Broaching CCS into society. Timeline considerations for deployment of CO2 capture and storage linked with the challenge of capacity building


The purpose of this paper is to assess the timeline for capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CCS) by
inverting the 450 Scenario of the IEA – especially the Blue Map Scenario – limiting the greenhouse gas
emissions by 50–80% by 2050.
In this pursuit, the critical stages of a new energy technology have been addressed. The timeline is
considered in a global perspective on the basis of available prognoses for fossil fuels – especially coal.
Relevant research questions are: (1) what generating capacity is required to meet the global demands,
and (2) which capture rate would be realistic and sufficient. In answering these questions, the study
employs two empirical “laws” that apply to new energy technology options in the transition and the
stabilisation phase. This approach is used to determine the required scale-up rates and to compare efforts
and impacts associated with prior experience from successful energy technologies implemented over the
past century. Criteria are also suggested for coining CCS technology available and material with regard to
commercial power generation.
The study reveals some inherent limitations based on the perception that the energy system itself is so
huge that it takes time to build the required human and industrial capacity, and to fill the knowledge gap.
History suggests that 30 years or more are needed for a new energy technology to materialise. In order
for CCS to have the desired impact on greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the process of materialising CCS
must take place within just one decade. Hence, the implication is that broaching CCS into society within
this short time span is – if practicable – an unprecedented challenge which requires war-like actions.
© 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Academic article




  • Jens Hetland


  • SINTEF Energy Research / Gassteknologi



Published in

International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control








172 - 183

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