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Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage Technology (CCUS) in India

From a Cameo to Supporting Role in the Nation’s Low-Carbon Story

Ankur Malyan and Vaibhav Chaturvedi
August 2021 | Low-Carbon Pathways

 
 
 
 
 
 

The changing narratives towards the prospects of implementing CCS/CCUS technology across the globe, including India are evident, primarily driven by climate change mitigation ambitions. Our assessment highlights the following points:

  • The narrative around CCS/CCUS technology has been regaining momentum in the Indian and global contexts in accordance with the countries ambitiously pledging for carbon neutrality.
  • In India however, this technology is far from becoming mainstream, but the Government of India and the Indian industry are trying to better understand the techno-economic feasibility and scalability of this technology.
  • Indian industries and public sector undertakings (PSUs) are leading the way towards the promotion of CCS facilities while recognising the need to stay carbon-neutral in the broader context of sustainability and competitiveness.

After lying dormant for a decade, the CCUS debate has been reignited in India’s climate change mitigation conversations. The discussions were first initiated in 2007, but they lost momentum over time. With India joining Mission Innovation in 2015 and with several nations making ambitious mitigation pledges such as carbon neutrality in recognition of an urgent need to address climate change, CCUS is regaining its momentum as an essential technology in the presence of fossil-based industries across nations, including India. Though CCUS could play a significant role in the power and industrial sectors, the power sector relies heavily on renewables in India at present. However, in long-term deep decarbonisation scenarios, CCUS could play an important role to achieve net-zero emissions in energy systems. Simultaneously, the industrial sector continues to face multiple challenges hindering its transformation. Consequently, with the growing acceptance of challenges and the need to mitigate the industrial sector emissions, CCUS is being adopted as a pilot by many Indian industries.

To address the challenges CCUS faces in India, there is a need to develop and evolve an ecosystem supporting CCUS facilities in the Indian market. Success of CCUS is not only impeded by technology which will be advancing in coming years but also by the lack of a policy ecosystem. The ecosystem should be built and strengthened around the essential pillars, namely, R&D, policy, finance, and governance. Except for MI-DBTDST projects, no focused research is being facilitated for CCUS. However, an India-specific comprehensive analysis needs to be undertaken to understand the challenges and the local solutions that are possible. Besides this, research and communication are also required on the policy front to understand the changing requirements and implications of policies on the role of CCUS, especially in the industrial sector. There is a need for demonstration projects to increase the confidence of stakeholders with the technology and better understand the uncertainties associated with it. Additionally, market-based mitigation mechanisms could play a key role in promoting CCUS facilities among industries and the inclusion of CCUS as a crucial ecosystem enabler. The cost of CCUS is very high despite decades of research highlighting the requirement of alternative finance mechanisms and support to help consumers adopt this expensive yet relevant technology . As the uncertainty and risks of CCUS are well known, the longterm sustainability and associated trade-offs of CCUS penetration in the ecosystem should be focused upon. Nonetheless, the CCUS technology is relatively new to India compared to the developed nations and hence it requires more comprehensive research, actions, and discussions to keep the debate going while discussing India’s low-carbon story.



 



 

Key insights and conclusions

Citation:

Chaturvedi, Vaibhav. 2021. Peaking and Net-Zero for India’s Energy Sector CO2 Emissions: An Analytical Exposition. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

Vaibhav is an economist who leads The Council's work on Low-Carbon Pathways. His research focuses on energy and climate change mitigation policy issues, especially those impacting India, within the integrated assessment modelling framework of the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM).

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