Durable, Engineered CO2 Removals to Reach 630 Mt by 2044

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Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) will be needed to reach any international net zero emission targets and avoid global warming beyond 1.5-2°C. Negative emissions technologies (NETs), especially those that go beyond nature-based approaches to provide long-lasting scalable CO2 removals, have therefore been receiving increased support through government policy and voluntary carbon credit purchases from corporations with ambitious climate goals. IDTechEx predicts that by 2044, the world's capacity for such durable, engineered CO2 removals will exceed 630 megatonnes per annum.
The new IDTechEx report, "Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) 2024-2044: Carbon Credit Markets, Technologies, Players, and Forecasts", provides a comprehensive outlook of the emerging CDR industry and carbon credit markets, with an in-depth analysis of the technological, economic, regulatory, and environmental aspects that are shaping this market. In it, IDTechEx focuses on technologies that actively draw CO₂ from the atmosphere and sequester it into carbon sinks, namely:
  • Direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS), which leverages chemical processes to capture CO₂ directly from the air and sequester it in geologic formations or durable products.
  • Biomass with carbon removal and storage (BiCRS), which involves strategies that use biomass to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it underground or in long-lived products. It includes approaches such as BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage), biochar, biomass burial, and bio-oil underground injection.
  • Nature-based CDR methods that leverage biological processes to increase carbon stocks in soils, forests, and other terrestrial ecosystems, i.e., afforestation/reforestation and soil carbon sequestration techniques.
  • Mineralization NETs that enhance natural mineral processes that permanently bind CO₂ from the atmosphere with rocks through enhanced rock weathering, carbonation of mineral wastes, and oxide looping.
  • Ocean-based CDR methods that strengthen the ocean carbon pump through ocean alkalinity enhancement, direct ocean capture, artificial upwelling/downwelling, coastal blue carbon, algae cultivation/marine seaweed sinking, and ocean fertilization.
TRL (technology readiness level) chart of carbon dioxide removal technologies covered in the IDTechEx report. Source: IDTechEx
These CDR technologies are at vastly different stages of readiness. Some are nearly ready for large-scale deployment, while others require basic scientific research and further field trials.
Durable, engineered removals versus nature-based CDR solutions
Afforestation/reforestation solutions have historically dominated the supply of CDR due to their low cost and high maturity. However, demand for this type of removal carbon credit has been dropping in voluntary markets over the past few years due to several high-profile scandals and the low durability/permanence associated with nature-based CDR. Instead, corporate buyers have increasingly turned towards highly durable, engineered carbon removal credits generated from approaches such as DACCS and BECCS. These removals offer credible climate action but have a high price tag and are in short supply. Most durable engineered approaches are yet to be included in compliance markets and, therefore, rely on pre-purchases from corporate buyers for early-stage commercial development.
The new IDTechEx report, "Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) 2024-2044: Carbon Credit Markets, Technologies, Players, and Forecasts", provides insights into the most promising technologies being developed in CDR, highlighting the pros and cons of each method, examining key drivers and barriers for growth, and comparing the removal potential, capture cost, and durability of all technologies. Despite capacity currently being limited, there has been much interest in DACCS as a solution to permanently remove CO₂ from the atmosphere and reverse climate change. DACCS is immediate, measurable, allows for permanent storage, can be located practically anywhere, is likely to cause minimal ecosystem impacts, and can achieve large-scale removals.
However, the rate at which DACCS can be scaled up is likely a limiting factor. The challenges of deploying DACCS include the large energy inputs (requiring substantial low-carbon energy resources), the high cost, and the sorbent requirements. The industry is aiming for the ambitious target of gigatonne-scale of DACCS removals by 2050. To make this happen, corporate action, investments, policy shapers, and regulatory guidelines need to come together to bring down the costs.
Although BECCS is currently the most mature and widely deployed durable engineered CDR technology, scale-up has historically been slow, and planned capacity is modest. Despite the technologies behind BECCS being relatively mature, there is a risk that using biomass for CO₂ removal and storage may compete with agricultural land and water or negatively impact biodiversity and conservation. IDTechEx analysis has indicated that BECCS has a large potential to contribute to climate change mitigation, though not at the scale assumed in some models due to economic and environmental risk factors.
Comprehensive analysis and market forecasts
IDTechEx's "Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) 2024-2044: Carbon Credit Markets, Technologies, Players, and Forecasts" report assesses the CDR carbon credit market in detail, evaluating the different technologies, latest advancements, and potential adoption drivers and barriers. The report also includes a granular forecast until 2044 for the deployment of nine NET categories (DACCS, BECCS, biochar, biomass burial, direct ocean capture, ocean alkalinity enhancement, seaweed sinking, enhanced rock weathering, and carbonation of minerals) alongside exclusive analysis and interview-based company profiles.
Some of the key questions answered in this report:
  • What are the requirements (energy, land, water, feedstocks, supply chain) for the deployment of CDR methods?
  • What is the climate impact of implementing CDR on a large scale?
  • Which gaps (technological, regulatory, business model) need to be addressed to enable each NET?
  • What is the status of CDR within compliance markets and voluntary carbon credit markets, and what is the market potential?
  • What are the key drivers and hurdles for CDR market growth?
  • How much do CDR solutions cost today and may cost in the future?
  • Who are the key players in the CDR space?
  • What is needed to further develop the CDR sector?
To find out more about this report, including downloadable sample pages, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/CDR.
For the full portfolio of energy and decarbonization market research from IDTechEx, please see www.IDTechEx.com/Research/Energy.
Upcoming free-to-attend webinar
Carbon Credit Markets: The Rise of Durable, Engineered, Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies
Eve Pope, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx and author of this article, will be presenting a free-to-attend webinar on the topic on Wednesday 5 June 2024 - Carbon Credit Markets: The Rise of Durable, Engineered, Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies.
This webinar will reveal insights into the CDR space, and its content includes:
  • Importance of carbon dioxide removal in reaching global net-zero emissions targets.
  • Overview of all negative emission technologies (NETs): Direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS), Biomass with carbon removal and storage (BiCRS), Nature-based CDR methods, Mineralization NETs, and ocean-based CDR approaches
  • Contextualization of CDR within carbon markets and how voluntary carbon credits are accelerating NETs in the short-term
  • Identifying the key factors driving the market pivot from nature-based solutions such as afforestation/reforestation to durable, engineered, CDR approaches
  • Discussion of environmental, technical, and economic drivers/barriers for DACCS and BECCS
Please click here to check timings and register for your specific time zone.
If you are unable to make the date, please register anyway to receive the links to the on-demand recording (available for a limited time) and webinar slides as soon as they are available.
IDTechEx provides trusted independent research on emerging technologies and their markets. Since 1999, we have been helping our clients to understand new technologies, their supply chains, market requirements, opportunities and forecasts. For more information, contact research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com.