Carbon capture and storage. It’s a controversial tool in the energy transition that we don’t want to use, but probably have to. Most of the scenarios in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report include capturing and storing hundreds of gigatons of carbon dioxide between now and 2100. 

When people say carbon capture and storage, or CCS, they often mean different things. It’s a term that covers multiple technologies used to capture CO2—such as point-source and direct-air capture— and different approaches to using that CO2. 

With the CCS industry is in its infancy, tackling some big questions now could save us headaches down the road. Questions about CCS infrastructure use, where we’ll build it, and who will control it.

In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Emily Grubert, associate professor of sustainable energy policy at the University of Notre Dame. She posted a Twitter thread recently about how the same CCS infrastructure actually has four different use cases:

  1. Avoiding emissions to extend the life of fossil-fuel infrastructure
  2. Avoiding emissions where we don’t have zero-carbon alternatives yet, like cement production
  3. Removing carbon to compensate for other emissions, i.e. offsets
  4. Removing carbon to draw down legacy emissions and avoid overshooting 1.5 degrees Celsius targets

They walk through each categories and cover topics like:

  • Which categories to prioritize over others
  • Avoiding the double-counting problem
  • Where we should use CCS vs. zero-carbon alternatives
  • The resource constraints on CCS, including water, land and energy
  • Whether we have the luxury to prioritize when we need to deploy CCS so quickly
  • Whether CCS customers or regulatory bodies should determine the type of CCS infrastructure we have and where we build it

Recommended Resources:

  • Catalyst: Carbon capture and storage is making a comeback
  • Bloomberg: Big Money Rushes Into Carbon Capture. Can It Deliver This Time?
  • US DOE: Strategic Vision: The Role of FECM in Achieving Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit to learn more.

Catalyst is supported by RE+. RE+ is more than just the largest clean energy event, it’s a catalyst for industry innovation designed to supercharge business growth in the clean energy economy. Learn more: