The role of carbon capture, utilization, and storage continues to grow as we recognize that our climate targets will be harder and harder to reach. Recent IPCC studies have demonstrated the critical importance of carbon capture for decarbonizing our economy rapidly. This is especially important today for industrial emissions, which have not received the attention that the electric sector has, and for which fewer decarbonization options are available. And the recent report on reaching 1.5ºC has highlighted that permanently removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will perhaps play an even bigger role – potentially creating a new industry twice as large as today's oil industry. Thus, carbon capture and storage is need for the immediate transition to a zero carbon economy, and then will be needed to remediate the atmosphere at massive scales.
In this fourth installation of the CCUS Gordon Research Conference series, we will examine the new science needed to achieve these massive goals. Can we decarbonize safely, and with a variety of approaches appropriate for the variety of power and industrial challenges? Can we develop methods to clean up the atmosphere – so called negative emissions – in time to keep within reasonable temperature limits? We will discuss these questions and many more in an interdisciplinary framework at the 2021 Gordon Research Conference on CCUS, where participants junior and senior will be stimulated by the highly interactive atmosphere typical of the GRCs and inspired by the natural landscape surrounding the conference venue.
Among the specific areas to be addressed this year are:
- Highly carbon efficient processes, those that remove the most carbon from our atmospheric system with the lease capital expenditure, and that commit the fewest energy emissions in doing so.
- Industrial sector carbon capture approaches that can be retrofitted onto existing plants without undue reduction of efficiency.
- Ways to reuse CO2 in our economy that reduce the use of fossil carbon for products, and that are as permanent and efficient as possible.
- Safe storage of CO2 in geologic systems, particularly hybrid systems with air capture and biological removal that take advantage of multiple benefits and account for local conditions.
- The overall analysis of the benefits and detriments of carbon capture, utilization, and storage based on scientific analysis including life cycle assessment developed expressly to understand the massive interconnections of carbon with our entire economy.
- New methods to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, including those that are combined with industrial and power sector systems that reduce their emissions simultaneously.