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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

Value of Emerging and Enabling Technologies in Reducing Costs, Risks & Timescales for CCS

This study was a horizon scanning exercise that aimed to understand the relevance of digital and enabling technologies for CCS and assess what benefits these technologies could offer to the large-scale deployment of CCS. Current R&D into the reduction of costs, risks, timescales and challenges in CCS primarily focusses on conventional improvement methods; emerging and enabling technologies have the potential to offer more opportunities for cost and risk reduction.

The study identified six main groups of emerging technologies that could benefit CCS:

1.Robotics, drones and autonomous systems

2.Novel sensors

3.Digital innovations

4.Virtual / augmented reality

5.Additive manufacturing

6.Advanced materials

The benefits in terms of costs are expected to be realised gradually; little cost savings would be available to projects beginning operation by 2025 but greater savings accessible from 2030 to 2040, reflecting both the current maturity level of the emerging technologies and the development timescales of CCS projects. A large proportion of CCS costs are capex costs, however the majority of applications with emerging technologies affect opex costs meaning that only modest savings in base project costs are projected. More significant cost reductions are across the chain were projected to be in components associated with facility downtime and supply chain losses of CO2. The greatest absolute savings are predicted to be in capture, and the greatest relative savings expected in storage sites.

Some of the key messages from the study include:

  • There are a wide range of relevant applications for digital and enabling technologies in CCS that could potentially reduce costs and address risks and challenges in deployment.
  • Although only some applications are currently under development in CCS, the benefits of these technologies discussed in the report are largely transferable from related sectors.
  • Applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) in predictive maintenance and automation deliver the greatest potential reductions in project costs.
  • Significant savings are only expected to be realised from 2030.
  • The greatest absolute savings (in terms of $ /tonne of CO2) are predicted to be in capture, whereas the greatest relative savings (in terms of percentage) are in storage.
  • Globally, cumulative investment savings of almost $200billion in the lifetime costs of CCS projects deployed through to 2040 are possible.
  • Cost model projections predict that:
  • oFor sites operating in 2025, overall reductions of 2% in lifetime costs can be expected for onshore and offshore sites, resulting from 8-9% less OPEX (operational expenditure) costs and a reduction of 10% in supply chain losses,
  • oBy 2040, 19% overall cost reductions are projected in offshore projects and 26% in onshore; a result of a 7-9% CAPEX (capital expenditure) reduction, 50% OPEX reduction and 50% reduction in injection facility downtime.

For more information or to request a copy of the report, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., referencing report number 2020-05.
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