Today marks 10,000 days until 1 January 2050, which is when the UK Government, as well as many other governments around the world, has committed to reaching net zero. There is still a huge amount of work to do to reach the goal of net zero. It is unclear whether there is enough support being provided by governments around the world to reach this target, but government support is growing.
One area of technology which will play a part in reaching net zero by 2050 is carbon capture, utilisation, and storage, commonly referred to as CCUS. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced 20 innovative projects for the next stage of its CCUS clusters process. These relate to power CCUS, which involves capturing carbon dioxide generated at power generation sites, industrial carbon capture, which involves capturing carbon dioxide generated at industrial sites, as well as hydrogen. These projects will be considered for government funding to use carbon capture technology to decarbonise their business.
The UK has one of the largest potential carbon dioxide storage capacities in Europe, so it is good to see this potential being supported by the UK Government. There is a lot of ongoing research into making CCUS cheaper and more efficient, and hopefully any new knowledge and technologies generated in the UK can be exported around the world to assist in arriving at a global net zero by 2050. Generating expertise and technology in the UK supports UK jobs and industry, as well as helps protect the environment for future generations, so it is very important for all governments to support this effort.
The magnitude of the task at hand cannot be underestimated and 10,000 days is an extremely short time to work with. We have seen the massive investments and advancements made in electronics and communications technologies over the last 10,000 days, and we will likely need to see a similar level of investment and advancement if we are to reach net zero by 2050. A wide range of technologies will be required, and CCUS is just one of a whole suite of technologies, including hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuel, batteries, and AI, coupled with lifestyle changes, to reach this ambitious but crucial goal. It should be remembered that it will be necessary to use fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, but we should aim to use them as efficiently as possible, and technological advancements like CCUS will help to mitigate any impact of the use of fossil fuels.