3rd January 2019
Abhishek Gupta & Akshoy Ranjan Paul



Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry have increased every decade from an average of 11.4 GtCO2 in the 1960s to an average of 34.4 GtCO2 during 2007-2016, 62% increase over 1990. Global emissions in 2016 were 36.3 GtCO2 with a share of coal (40%), oil (34%), gas (19%), cement (6%), and flaring (1%). Global emissions in 2017 are projected to increase by 2% after three years of almost no growth, reaching 36.8 GtCO2, a new high record. Global CO2 emissions in 2016 were dominated by emissions from China (28%), the USA (15%), the EU (28-member states; 10%) and India (7%). Growth rates of these countries from 2015 to 2016 were -0.3% for China, -2.1% for the USA, -0.3% for the 28 countries under European Union (EU) but a whopping 4.5% for India, which is a major concern for India. The global atmospheric CO2 concentration increased from 277 ppm in 1750 to 403 ppm in 2016, up by 45%.


The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published a report in October 2018 which is prepared at the request of governments when a global pact to tackle climate change was agreed in Paris in 2015. The IPCC report indicated that a rise of 1.5°C would still carry climate-related risks for nature and mankind but the risks would be lower than a rise of 2°C. The targets agreed in Paris on cutting emissions would not be enough even if there were larger and more ambitious cuts after 2030, the report said. To contain warming at 1.5°C, manmade global net CO2 emissions would need to fall by about 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach 'net zero' by 2050. Any additional emissions would require removing CO2 from the air.


The IPCC summary said renewable energy would need to supply 70 to 85% of electricity by 2050 to stay within a 1.5°C limit, compared with about 25% now. Using carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, the share of gas-fired power would need to be cut to 8% and coal to between 0 and 2%. It is expressed by the researchers that keeping the rise in temperature to 1.5°C would mean sea levels by 2100 would be 10 cm lower than if the warming was 2°C, the likelihood of an Arctic ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century not at least once a decade, and coral reefs would decline by 70 to 90% instead of being virtually wiped out. Food insecurity (consequently the hunger), water inaccessibility, decline in public health, fast biodiversity losses are the other major concerns due to global warming.


India's Concerns

India is the third highest producer of coal, while has fifth highest coal reserves and approximately 0.5% of world’s oil and gas reserves in the World. As of 2018, 66% of India’s electricity generation capacity comes from thermal power plants. About 85% of the country’s thermal power generation being coal-based. With India being the world’s fourth largest emitter of CO2, it is vital to know what the country’s emissions are presently and where they might be headed. Given India’s early stage of economic development, low per-capita emissions and its large population, there is vital scope for its emissions to increase. India’s CO2 emissions from energy are the fourth largest in the world and rising. India’s energy future carries implications for both global outcomes and national development objectives. India’s emissions grew by an estimated 4.6%  in 2017. India’s carbon emission would double in 2030!


From a global perspective, India’s current and expected future emissions are sufficiently massive to have an effect on global mitigation efforts. More than 65% of India’s electricity generation capacity comes from thermal power plants, with about 85% of the country’s thermal power generation being coal-based. By the end of March 2018, total installed coal capacity in India stood at 197,171.50 MW (66% of its total electricity production). India’s established natural gas capacity measures about 24,897.46 MW as on March 2018. With a large swathe of rivers and water bodies, India has huge potential for hydropower. As of March 2018, India has 45.29 GW (13% of its total electricity production) of hydro power generating capacity. Wind energy is the largest renewable energy source in India; projects like the Jawaharlal Nehru National solar Mission (aims to generate 20,000 MW of solar energy by 2022) are making a positive atmosphere among investors keen to take advantage of India’s potential. There are plans to set up four solar power plants of 1GW each. As of March 2018, India has 69.02 GW of renewable energy capacity.


India aimed at propagation of healthy, green, and sustainable path to economic development included to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33–35% by 2030 from 2005 level, to achieve 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel resources by 2030 and to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5–3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover. But global climate models is so far unable to attain cost-efficient outcomes consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement without factoring in crucial technologies like carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), bio-energy and their combination (BECCS).


Looking for Solutions:

 The IPCC report (2018) maintains that without CCS, the price of achieving long-run climate goals is almost 140% more expensive! IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2017 report stated that carbon capture and storage is vital for reducing energy emissions across the energy system in both the 'Energy technology perspectives 2°C scenario (2DS)' and 'The beyond 2°C scenario (B2DS)'. Despite of recent thrust in renewable energy options like solar, wind etc., fossil fuels would still give 60% of the world’s primary energy by 2040. This confirms the urgency at which carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) must be applied to power and wider industry. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is the only technology which can reduce emissions on a significant scale from fossil fuel power plants and these industrial processes. Renewable technologies are not mitigation substitutes to CCS in the industrial sector. Inclusion of CCS within a portfolio of low-carbon technologies is not simply the most efficient route to global de-carbonization, it also delivers energy reliability and lower costs. The potential for CCS to generate negative emissions when coupled with bio-energy is integral to energy use becoming carbon dioxide (CO2) emission-neutral in 2060.


Carbon Capture and Sequestration:

 Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology is a process of capturing waste CO2 from large point sources, like fossil fuel power plants, transporting it to a storage site, and depositing it wherever it will not enter the atmosphere, usually in underground geological formations. The aim is to prevent the discharge of large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere from fossil fuel use in power generation and other industries. CCS is seen a crucial climate protection technology for coal-rich countries like India having potential in massively reducing CO2 emission as compared to any other existing technology. CCS involves three major steps:

·       Capture:The separation of CO2 from other gases produced at large industrial process facilities such as coal and natural gas power plants, oil and gas plants, steel mills and cement plants.

·       Transport:Once separated, the CO2 is compressed and transported via pipelines, trucks, ships or other methods to a site suitable for geological storage.

·       Storage/Sequestration:CO2 is injected into deep underground rock formations, at depths of one km or more. 


Global Status of CCS:

Many natural-gas processing plants in the Val Verde area of Texas (USA) began using carbon capture to supply CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in 1972. The period of 1970-80 is considered as the early application of CCS technologies that involved processes in which CO2 was already routinely separated, like in natural gas processing and fertilizer production. Today, the portfolio of CCS facilities is much more diverse, including applications in coal-fired power, steel manufacture, chemical and gas production and Bio-energy coupled CCS (BECCS). USA, Canada and Brazil are champions in enhanced oil recovery projects through carbon sequestration with more than hundreds of projects worldwide. Capture technologies are currently employed widely at scale globally. Costs for employing CCS are falling rapidly as new facilities come on stream while next generation technologies are unleashed. More than 6,000 km of CO2 pipelines are operational with an excellent safety record worldwide. CO2 is injected securely into a variety of strata with no evidence of leakage to the atmosphere.


Sequestration in saline aquifers is relatively new and besides USA and Canada, South Africa has commenced a pilot project. Algeria is also exploring feasibility of using depleted gas fields for sequestration. China is the first country in Asia to take up sequestration in saline aquifers and is carrying out research and modeling work in a large scale. More than 200 million tonnes of CO2 has been captured and injected deep underground till November 2017. All this carbon capture capacity adds up to CO2 capture of 37 Mtpa- equivalent, which is equivalent of over 8 million motor vehicles taken off the roads.


In order to reach the goals specified in Paris climate targets, the CCS Report 2017 as drafted in COP23 meeting suggested to develop more than 2000 CCS facilities by 2040 to manage 14% of cumulative emissions reductions using CCS. CCS is described as the only clean technology capable of de-carbonizing industry-steel, chemicals, cement, fertilizers, pulp and paper, coal and gas-fired powered generation. To date, more than 220 million tonnes of anthropogenic CO2 has been safely and permanently injected deep underground. In Asia and the Pacific (APAC), 11 CCS facilities are in varying stages of development including 8 in China. On a like-for-like basis, CCS is cheaper than intermittent renewable and costs continue to fall.


Status of CCS in India

 India is one among 24 developing countries that are having CCS activity, recognizing the importance of CCS for energy security. There is marginal interest in domestic demonstration of the technology in India because of the concerns about the public’s reaction to underground CO2 storage, poor geological CO2 storage data, higher cost and technical uncertainties associated with CCS technologies. A preliminary study shows that on-shore and off-shore deep saline formations (300-400 GtCO2), basalt formation traps (200-400 GtCO2), unmineable coal seams (5Gt CO2), depleted oil and gas reservoirs (5-10Gt CO2) and in deep coal seams (345 Mt CO2) and their approximate storage potential given in brackets. The storage potential in India is poorly defined with only a few broad assessments completed. Comprehensive national study on Indian storage basins is needed.


National Aluminum Company (NALCO), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) and APGENCO are some industries which are in early stages of setting up facilities associated with CCS. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has already tested a pilot project to sequester CO2 in open pond using algal technology. National Aluminum Co. (NALCO), Orissa has successfully commissioned a pilot-cum-demonstration CO2 sequestration plant. Indian fertilizer sector has adopted carbon capture technology. The captured CO2 is said to be of 99% purity which will be recycled again to be used in the production of urea from ammonia.


Challenges of CCS Implementation in India:

 Key Policy Initiatives for CCS Implementation in India includes introduction of ‘Clean Energy Tax’on imported and domestic coal 2010, which goes to go into the National Clean Energy Fund. In 2012, National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was expanded to include clean coal and clean carbon technology to minimize CO2 emissions. India’s Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17) highlighted the need to invest in R&D of ultra-supercritical (USC) units. The Renovation, modernization (RM) and Life Extension (LE) activities for 72 Coal power plants totaling to 16532 MW are currently underway. Institute of Reservoir Studies is carrying out CO2 capture and EOR field studies in Gujarat, while National Geological Research Institute (NGRI) Hyderabad is testing the feasibility of storing CO2 in basalt formations. The challenges associated with the commercial use of CCS in India are identified and listed below.

·       Lack of R&D effort:Along with its research phase, its potential estimation of conversion into fuel or either its geo sequestration (potential site estimation) plays an important role.

·       Need for comprehensive national study on Geological storage:The comprehensive geological assessment for CO2 storage potential are yet to be studied in India.

·       Energy penalty:CCS requires additional energy input and India's power requirement is yet to be fulfilled. Thus, energy penalty plays as barrier in India.

·       Lack of financing and inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI):Implementation of costly CCS technologies require financial incentives from local and central governments in India and good governance polities enabling to attract foreign FDI for the same.

·       Environmental and legal concerns:Like land acquisition, ground water contamination, fear of CO2 leakage.

·       Cost scenario:Even after development for over 30 years, CCS technology is still proven costly to developing countries like India.

·       Political and policy making: India is world’s largest democracy and have 1.3 billion population. A slight increment in cost of electricity due to implementation of CCS and subsequent change in policy may cause political instability.

·       Public opinion:Being the largest democracy and with less concern to the environment and clean energy, regular interaction with the common people is necessary before implementing large CCS plants in India.

·       Foreign policies: Foreign policies have to be understood before installing any large CCS project in collaboration with foreign companies.



 It is now a proven fact that CCS can significantly reduce the CO2 footprint. The role of CCS goes well beyond a ‘clean coal technology’. The experience of the last 20 years has highlighted the diversity of CCS applications. Early opportunities for CCS deployment exist, but must be cultivated. Long-term commitment and stability in policy frameworks is critical. Targeted policies which provide a financial incentive for investment will be essential in the near term. The availability of CCS in the future depends on investment in R&D and implementation today. An expanded project line-up is needed for more new projects to become operational in 2020 and beyond. Governments should take steps to create markets for clean products with a low CO2 content. Community engagement and public understanding for CCS in countries like India is must.



Akshoy Ranjan Paul, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Applied Mechanics

Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Allahabad, India


Abhishek Gupta;

Research Scholar, Fluid Mechanics & Carbon Sequestration,

Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Allahabad, India


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