China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, is now looking into carbon capture utilisation and storage technologies to reduce emissions and attain carbon neutrality in the future. Keeping this in mind, I will be shedding light on China’s ambitions, key carbon capture projects, top start-ups in the industry and challenges hindering the growth of this sector.
In September 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that the country aims to achieve a carbon emissions peak by 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. It is pouring capital heavily into renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower. By expanding its renewable energy capacity, the country aims to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and decrease overall carbon emissions.
China is actively championing green technologies, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), which involves research, development, and implementation of technologies designed to capture and store carbon emitted from industrial processes and power generation.
Carbon Capture Projects:
- The China Energy firm attached a carbon capture plant to its coal power plant in Taizhou, which can capture 500,000 tonnes of carbon annually.
- Sinopec launched a carbon capture plant at one of its oil refineries in Shandong Province, and it can capture 712,000 tonnes of carbon per year.
- Shenhua Ordos CCS Pilot, capturing carbon emissions from coal, was developed with an investment of $3.58 billion. It stored 300,000 tonnes of carbon between 2011 and 2014.
- PetroChina’s Jilin oil and carbon capture plant captures and stores the carbon emissions produced during crude oil production. To date, they have injected more than 2 million tonnes of carbon, with the capacity to store 350,000 tonnes annually.
- Carbon Energy Technology (Beijing) Co Ltd, headquartered in Beijing, was founded in 2015. The company is developing and managing carbon capture, utilisation and storage projects and building low-carbon concrete products.
- Carbon New Material Technology has a headquarters in Shenzhen. It is developing carbon capture and utilisation technologies intending to reduce emissions and achieve high economic efficiency.
- Big Data Fintech, founded in 2016. They offer carbon planning services, empowering manufacturing enterprises to increase the use of their carbon assets through carbon data management and carbon footprint calculation.
- Eahon Technology, headquartered in Shanghai, was founded in 2021. They provide energy and carbon asset management services, enabling companies to achieve carbon neutrality.
- KnowCarbon, headquartered in Beijing, specialises in carbon services, offering expertise in carbon accounting, audits, and asset management.
- One of the primary challenges is the high cost of implementing carbon capture technologies. The initial investment and operational costs for capturing, transporting, and storing CO2 can be significant.
- The second challenge lies in the imperative development of sufficient infrastructure for carbon capture, transportation, and storage, including pipelines for transporting captured CO2 and identifying suitable geological formations for secure storage.
- The third concern is about the economic viability of carbon capture projects. Industries and power producers need to see a clear business case and potential return on investment to justify the implementation of these technologies.
In conclusion, China’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060 propels a strategic focus on carbon capture technologies. Notable projects, such as China Energy’s Taizhou plant and Sinopec’s Shandong refinery, demonstrate tangible progress. Innovative start-ups like Carbon Energy Technology and Carbon New Material Technology amplify the nation’s dedication to profit-oriented carbon capture solutions. However, challenges persist, including high implementation costs and the need for robust infrastructure. Overcoming these hurdles is essential for China’s ambitious carbon neutrality goals. Collaborative endeavours in technology, industry, and policy will be imperative to ensure scalability and economic viability, thereby contributing to a sustainable future.