CCUS and the energy transition

As the world is transitioning towards a net zero future, Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage provides a series of possibilities once energy optimization and carbon avoidance has been achieved. Indeed, there are a number of options on the table with the use of hydrogen as a fuel as well as the growing use of renewable electricity. However, there will remain the question of what circular carbon economy we develop and how we can integrate the use of negative emission technologies.

TotalEnergies has set an ambition of reaching carbon neutrality (net zero emissions) by 2050, from the production to the use of the energy products sold to its customers, together with society. CCUS is a key element to this ambition.

The aim of this presentation is to give insights into elements of CCUS R&D within the company, specifically related to CO2 capture and utilization. Spot highlights will be given of topics at different levels of maturity with the aim to induce discussion concerning different pathways that CCUS can take.

Both capture of CO2 from industrial sources and directly from the air pose questions of cost which need to be decreased. The use of porous materials and adsorption-based capture may provide such cost reductions if the right materials and optimized process is in place. Adsorption-based technologies can equally answer the question of emissions that amine-based solvent capture poses.

The conversion of CO2 opens questions of what molecules to aim for as well as what routes should be chosen. The company explores both thermo-catalytic and electro-catalytic routes to convert CO2 into key molecules. Should these molecules be the final target, or could they be used as platform molecules for further valorization – into sustainable air fuels for example ?

The energy transition will be complex but some simple ‘back of the envelope’ calculations may provide some elements for discussion as we, and society, move forward.


Joseph Stewart

Research Engineer in catalysis at TotalEnergies