Carbon Capture and Utilisation: An analysis of its potential for climate change mitigation
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Increased interest has been given to the use of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) as a tool for climate change mitigation by policymakers and industry. During the process of CCU, carbon dioxide is captured from point sources or from the atmosphere and used a feedstock in a variety of products. Consequently it is argued that the process can deliver positive climate impacts by substituting for fossil feedstocks and by turning products into carbon sinks. However, CCU is still a relatively young technology and debate exists within the academic world about its usefulness in the context of climate change. The aim of this thesis is to address the potential of CCU and identify challenges and drivers that are connected to the meaningful deployment of the technology. Since this will be done from a climate perspective the overarching research question is: what is the potential contribution of CCU technologies to climate change mitigation? The question is answered by reflecting upon 3 different categories of CCU products: fuels, chemicals and construction materials. Promising pathways for these categories are analysed based on a literature review and their potential for climate change mitigation is explored. Additionally case-studies are done on CCU-based companies or projects to further analyse the present state of the technology. The findings are discussed in the form of a scenario narrative where the future potential and role of CCU will be discussed. CCU was found to provide significant potential for climate change mitigation for all three considered categories. Due to present barriers around renewable energy requirements its deployment will be limited in the short-term. In the long-term it is plausible that CCU will become more widely deployed, but this will depend on a variety of potential drivers such as its inclusion in policy and technological developments.