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The carbon storage market could represent a $128 billion industry over the next 20 years - and that's assuming a base-case, business as usual approach to the problem. More aggressive carbon limits by governments - and buy-in from industry - could boost that market to approximately $221 billion by 2030.
Although currently negligible in prominence, the carbon storage market could be the technology that makes the world's carbon emission reduction targets achievable.
Carbon storage techniques, such as enhanced oil recovery, have been used in the energy sector for decades, but only recently has the concept of long term carbon storage been viewed as a viable means of reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere from power plants.
Carbon capture and storage refers to the technology of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) before or after the combustion of fossil fuels (gas or coal), transporting it and pumping it into underground geological formations. This process prevents large quantities of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere by securely storing it between impermeable rock or similar material.
Carbon capture and storage has potential to assume a core role in the energy mix of many nations.
Countries like the UK are already planning and implementing new projects such as an online database to gauge how much offshore carbon dioxide storage space is realistically available. In Australia, the $208 million Callide Oxyfuel Project has entered the demonstration phase and marks the continent's first carbon capture plant.
On the basis of the carbon storage demonstration projects that have already been announced globally, 10 Gigawatts (GW) of capacity is expected to have come online by 2020.
Carbon storage does however, come at a cost. Adding carbon storage to new and existing power plants will raise the price of electricity by 50% to 75%.
For more information on the carbon storage market, see the latest research: Carbon Storage Market
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