Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture and sequestration is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) before it enters the atmosphere, transporting it, and storing it (carbon sequestration) for centuries or millennia. These facilities are generally placed close to energy production or chemical plants in order to maximize their efficiency by placing them close to a high concentration of CO2.
In the last 5 years carbon capture has seen explosive growth as government subsidies and external investment push the industry forward. In February 2018, Congress extended and expanded key financial incentives for investment in several advanced low-carbon technologies. These incentives were primarily in the form of tax subsidies that would reward industrial buildings that also had carbon
capture facilities on their grounds. The investment environment that these subsidies have created for the technology is massive, with investment for CSS increasing 4 fold to $1.44 billion from 2021-2022 and this growth is expected to continue as climate change becomes a more important issue for investors and the general public.
This growth is expected to continue looking at the coming decade with more carbon capture facilities and higher efficiency drastically cutting down on emissions from large industrial factories or power plants and storing that CO2 deep
An evolution of this technology that is also expanding rapidly is Carbon Removal technology that doesn't just prevent CO2 from entering the atmosphere but actually removes this CO2 from the atmosphere altogether. Carbon removal is seen as a better long term solution to climate change as it can actually draw down CO2 levels in the atmosphere rather than just prevent these levels from increasing.
Because of its potential, carbon removal technology is seeing even more interest from companies and governments around the world than carbon capture is. Some notable investors include Elon Musk, Alphabet, Stripe, The US Government, Meta, and McKinsey. With billions of dollars pouring into this technology there is potential for it to make a massive dent in CO2 levels in the atmosphere in the coming decade and beyond.
Now onto how this impacts the business climate of today. There are 2 possible ways that this could affect business owners, first is that large businesses like Apple or Amazon may feel incentivized to follow in the steps of Alphabet and Meta in investing in carbon removal technologies. This means that it is a great time to be an innovator in this field. The second way this may affect business owners(probably the most likely) is through guaranteed carbon offsets. Like was mentioned in my previous article about carbon offsets, a large portion of carbon offsets are untrustworthy and investing in these unreliable carbon offsets can ruin a businesses brand image. Alternatively, carbon removal is a tangible decrease in CO2 in the atmosphere and so is the most guaranteed form of carbon offset possible. While these offsets may be more expensive than others they are a great way to better quantify a businesses impact on the environment.