16th October 2023
Sailing towards carbon removal technology
The most important investment that any business can be making today is one that helps secure its future. It’s a maxim that’s true for any category of business investment, but when it comes to tackling the problem of climate change, it’s even more relevant.
Over a third (34%) of the world’s largest companies have committed to achieving net zero targets, yet nearly all of them (93%) will miss their goals without finding a way to at least double their pace of emissions reduction by 2030. This is according to a new report, Accelerating Global Companies toward Net Zero by 2050, published by Accenture.
One of the key emerging issues with every carbon emissions reduction strategy is dealing with the problem of ‘residual emissions’, which needs a very different approach. Although 85% of carbon emissions can be cut and balanced out, the remaining 15%, or residual emissions, are more challenging to eliminate. These may be historic and especially difficult to abate, and they may also fall outside the scope of an organization’s direct control.
One fast-emerging solution to the problem of controlling residual emissions is carbon removal technology, which physically removes carbon from the atmosphere permanently. It is highly specialised and organisations can purchase carbon removals to permanently neutralise these hard-to-abate residual emissions.
More forward-thinking organisations are already taking action to remove carbon from their supply chains now, and have been identifying trustworthy suppliers. This is because over the next decade, as deadlines for net zero and climate change targets loom, demand for carbon removals is expected to outstrip supply, and this scarcity is likely to cause dramatic price increases.
Today's carbon market is an ecosystem of innovative and diverse ideas, but it's in its infancy. Any business runs the risk of getting it wrong and investing in carbon credits that don't deliver according to expectations. These concerns are fueling demand for high-integrity carbon removals that can be provided by organisations able to guarantee safe and permanent carbon removals. Carbon removal suppliers also need to provide transparent measurements, giving users the ability to quantify and accurately report on how much carbon is being removed to their stakeholders.
One of the most effective methods for permanent carbon removal is BECCS, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. This works by generating renewable power using sustainably sourced biomass and capturing the carbon released during combustion. The process removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it creates, resulting in carbon removal. Captured carbon is then stored securely for tens of thousands of years.
Drax has an ambition to remove 14 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere per year by 2030, using an approach that is measurable, durable, scalable, and also competitively priced compared to other technologies. To achieve this ambition, Drax is putting plans in place for BECCS in the UK as well as global sites, and once in operation, BECCS has the potential to serve as a carbon removal solution for the ports and maritime industries, among others.
The carbon removal market is still in its early stages of development, and investment in BECCS projects is important for numerous reasons. Successful project outcomes today will mean a greater supply of carbon removal solutions available for companies in the future. It will also help to balance demand and supply, preventing carbon removal prices from skyrocketing in the coming years.
Countries have pledged, under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, to try to hold global temperatures to no higher than 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels, after scientific advice that heating beyond that level would unleash a cascade of increasingly catastrophic and potentially irreversible impacts. We have already witnessed another summer of extremes, and scientists are warning that the world is certain to experience new record temperatures, with temperatures likely to exceed the 1.5C target.
A new report from the Coalition for Negative Emissions shows that to achieve the volume of negative emissions needed by 2050, carbon removal production needs to ramp up today. The report shows that even by 2025, we’re at risk of being 80 percent off target relative to where we need to be. To do this, we need industry and government to work together to drive investment in early projects, which we can then use as a baseline to scale up in the 2030s and beyond.
For businesses aiming for net zero, a robust carbon removal strategy is paramount. Join industry experts like Mark Gibbens, Head of Logistics, and Matthew Williamson, Head of Sustainable Commodities at Drax, at Maritime Innovation Week 2023. They will delve into the future of carbon removal within the context of net zero strategies in ports and maritime. Register for free at Maritime Innovation Week 2023 to be part of this essential conversation.
Matthew Williamson, Head of Sustainable Commodities at Drax
Mark Gibbens, Head of Logistics at Drax
Mark Gibbens is a speaker at Maritime Innovation Week 2023, where he will be discussing the future of carbon removal in the wider context of net zero strategy within ports and maritime. Maritime Innovation Week is taking place between 7 – 9 November 2023 at locations in the North East of England and London.
To register for your free place at this unique event, visit https://yoonity.io/v/maritimeinnovationweek2023