From Big Oil to Big Tech, companies are rushing in to a new kind of business they believe will keep their industry surviving in the new net-zero economy: carbon capture.
So-called carbon capture initiatives typically involve actively drawing carbon dioxide out of the air or scrubbing the heat-trapping greenhouse gas out of the emissions from factories and power plants. While the technology has been used for decades by oil manufacturers to pump more oil, only in the last several years have other industries started to embrace the technology as a way of combating climate change.
With the oil market still fragile after inventories reached historic highs early in the pandemic, carbon capture has become a major draw for fossil fuel titans as they scramble to stay afloat in a new green economy.
Darren Woods, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, told investors in March the company expects the market for carbon capture to grow by 35 percent each year, reaching $2 trillion by 2040. The company this week proposed a $100 billion carbon capture hub in Houston that it estimates would capture and store about 50 million metric tons of carbon a year by 2030 and possibly 100 million metric tons by 2040.
ExxonMobil is urging President Joe Biden to introduce tax breaks and a price on carbon that will help create a market for the company’s new carbon capture business.
BP plans to capture up to 10 million tons of carbon each year through its carbon capture project in North East England called Net Zero Teesside.
“CCUS technology (carbon capture, utilization and storage) is ready to deploy now,” Joshua Hicks, a spokesperson for BP, told NBC News in an emailed statement. “We will continue to work with governments and corporations to create the business models essential for scaling up carbon capture deployment.”
Microsoft is exploring carbon capture through a negative emission project at a biomass plant in Denmark, the company announced last month. Tide, owned by Procter & Gamble, is studying carbon capture technology as part of its commitment to halve greenhouse gases at its plants by 2030.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton director Antoine Arnault told investors last week that it will reduce its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2026 through using 100 percent renewable energy and helping to “improve the soil’s ability to capture carbon.”
“This is an ambitious project, but we need to have a holistic approach,” Arnault said.
The demand for carbon capture technology has boomed since 2018, when the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report that said the world would need to take “unprecedented” steps to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change. The report warned that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 will require “large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal measures.”
It may be necessary to remove up to 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by 2050 to keep warming…
Read More: Big Oil is just one industry hoping carbon capture will help it survive the new green