What is CCU?
Carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) stands for, in addition to carbon capture storage, the utilisation of CO2. The CO2, as source of carbon, has the potential to be used in the manufacture of fuels, carbonates, polymers and chemicals. Being on development-to-demonstration phases, CCU represents a new economy for CO2, as used as raw material.
CO2 utilisation may delay carbon emissions to the atmosphere while reducing the consumption of the original feedstock and avoiding the emission of other substances associated to them. Enhanced oil and gas recovery (EOR, EGR), as well as CO2 mineralization, result in permanent storage, while in the other utilisation cases, CO2 is emitted later in the product chain, i.e. when the CO2-product based is consumed.
Due to its inherent potential, CCU is considered a complementary alternative to geological CO2 storage: the predicted short-term market potential by [Aresta et al. 2013] is around 200 MtCO2/y (300 in the best case), compared to about 14,000 MtCO2/y emitted from large point sources [Boot-Handford et al. 2014]. The market for CO2 utilisation is relatively small, and future markets for CO2 will have to map and prioritize points of CO2 emission with utilisation opportunities, advocating for tailor-made and local solutions [Global CCS Institute & Parsons Brinckerhoff 2011].
Further information on carbon capture and utilisation can be found at the Strategic Energy Technologies Information System (SETIS):
References [Aresta et al. 2013] Aresta M, Dibenedetto A, and Angelini A: The changing paradigm in CO2 utilization. Journal of CO2 Utilization 3-4 (65–73). DOI:10.1016/j.jcou.2013.08.001 [Boot-Handford et al. 2014] Boot-Handford ME, Abanades JC, Anthony EJ, Blunt MJ, Brandani S, Mac Dowell N, Fernández JR, Ferrari M-C, Gross R, Hallett JP, Haszeldine RS, Heptonstall P, Lyngfelt a., Makuch Z, Mangano E, Porter RTJ, Pourkashanian M, Rochelle GT, Shah N, Yao JG, and Fennell PS: Carbon capture and storage update. Energy & Environmental Science 7 (130). DOI:10.1039/c3ee42350f [Global CCS Institute & Parsons Brinckerhoff 2011] Global CCS Institute & Parsons Brinckerhoff: Accelerating the Uptake of Ccs : Industrial Use of Captured Carbon Dioxide