Turkey's Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Potential

The "Turkey's Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage Potential" report prepared by the Resource, Environment and Climate Association (REC) was shared with the public at an event held in Istanbul on March 20, 2024.


Dear Members;

The "Turkey's Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage Potential" report prepared by the Resource, Environment and Climate Association (REC) was shared with the public at an event held in Istanbul on March 20, 2024. The report includes findings on Turkey's potential for CCUS and barriers/suggestions for the implementation and development of CCUS technology in Turkey. The report also includes the status of CCUS technology worldwide and provides examples from various countries.

According to a report examining Turkey's Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage potential, this technology should not be used as a justification for decisions that will delay Turkey's achievement of emission reduction targets, such as delaying the transition to renewable energy in the electricity sector.

The Resource, Environment and Climate Association (REC) announced the report on Turkey's Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage Potential at a press conference in Istanbul. The meeting was moderated by Dr. Tamer Atabarut, faculty member of Boğaziçi University Institute of Environmental Sciences, and attended by Dr. Rıfat Ünal Sayman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Resource, Environment and Climate Association (REC), and Assoc. Prof. Çağlar Sınayuç, faculty member of METU Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, as well as E3G Senior Policy Advisor Domien Vangenechten, TENMAK Energy and Technology Policies Researcher Onur Bayram, TÜBİTAK Senior Principal Researcher Assoc. Prof. Tahsin Bahar.

Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) technologies, which are seen internationally as one of the tools to be used to achieve net zero emissions in 2050, are on the agenda as one of the main topics of discussion in line with Turkey's 2053 net zero target. The report evaluates these technologies comprehensively and makes recommendations for Turkey, which aims to be net zero by 2053. According to the report, given Turkey's limited potential and financial resources, these technologies can only be used to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the cement and iron and steel sectors in the long term and only if their costs are reduced. The study, which also examines the examples of CCUS technologies in the world, offers suggestions for the implementation and development of similar technologies in Turkey, while also examining the obstacles that stand in the way.

Turkey's Known Geological Storage Capacity Limited to 108 MtCO2

Stating that there is currently no CCUS practice in Turkey, the report reveals that the only potential storage areas that have been studied in detail are oil and natural gas fields. The total capacity of these fields is calculated as 108 Mt CO2. Although it is estimated that there is a much higher geological storage capacity in Turkey's aquifer areas, the potential capacity in these areas has not yet been calculated. In Turkey, oil fields that can be used for carbon storage are concentrated in the South Eastern Anatolia region. Suitable aquifer sites are thought to be located in the Black Sea. In Turkey, financial barriers and other challenges are expected to make it difficult to implement large-scale CCUS in the near future, as it is not currently practiced except for CO2 injection for oil recovery. In addition to financial concerns, there is limited information on storage capacity in Turkey. While recent research shows that there is sufficient capacity for permanent geological storage of CO2 in Turkey, the report emphasizes that this capacity should be aligned with the role of CCUS in climate policy projections.

Landfills are the Biggest Challenge for Applications Around the World

According to the report, 18 large-scale commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects are currently in operation globally, with a total capture capacity of around 40 million tons of CO2 per year. It is estimated that 230 Mt CO2 has been safely injected underground to date. Almost 60% of this capacity is known to be stored through enhanced oil recovery and 35% directly. The facilities are 33% natural gas, 20% electricity and 11% chemical production facilities. The facilities are concentrated in countries where oil recovery and coal production are common, such as the USA, China, Canada, Australia and Norway. Looking at the practices around the world, the biggest challenge is the geographical overlap between storage sites and CO2 emission sources, which increases costs and risks.

The Paris Agreement First Global Stocktake calls for scaling up research and applications of CCUS. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections include CCUS technologies. In addition, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) scenarios, more than 2,500 CCUS facilities should be operational by 2040 in order to reach the 2-degree target envisaged in the Paris Agreement. However, according to the findings of the report, the current installation is far away from the required capacity.

Turkey Should Approach CCUSTechnologies Realistically

The report also examines the economic challenges facing CCUS technologies. It states that CCUS technologies in the world are expensive and that costs include the entire three-stage process of capture, transportation and storage. The capture of CO2 accounts for more than half of these costs, while CO2 transportation and storage costs are lower than capture. The high cost requires penalty and incentive mechanisms for the use of these technologies and a price for carbon emissions. In the report, which states that there are incentives for the development of CCUS in different countries around the world, it is stated that in the US, a tax incentive of 85 dollars per ton of CO2 storage is given, while in the EU, the cost of CO2 emissions per ton is close to 100 euros as a kind of sanction, making the implementation of CCUS technologies financially possible.

Reminding that Turkey ratified the Paris Agreement in 2021 and 2038 will be the peak year, Dr. Sayman said:

"Turkey has committed to reduce its emissions by 41% from 1,213 million tons of CO2 equivalent for 2030 to 695 million tons of CO2 equivalent and to reach net zero emissions in 2053. Turkey needs to allocate significant resources to achieve these targets. This should include prioritizing the use of expensive technological solutions such as CCUS to manage emissions from manufacturing industry sectors where emission reductions are difficult to achieve, rather than sectors such as fossil fuel power generation, which have low-cost and climate-friendly alternatives. The recently published Low Carbon Roadmap for the Turkish Cement Sector study shows that Turkey needs to allocate $29.8 billion to $30.7 billion for the use of CCUS technologies in cement sector emissions alone by 2053 to reach net zero. In addition, these investments should be accompanied by social and environmental safeguards to reduce risks."

Prof. Dr. Sayman continued as follows:

"From an economic point of view, the necessary economic justification for the implementation of CCUS technologies in Turkey has not yet been established.As it stands, CCUS technologies are expensive.Therefore, it is difficult to consider carbon capture, utilisation and storage as a viable solution for reducing Turkey's greenhouse gas emissions in the short and medium term. If its costs decrease, it can contribute to the reduction of emissions of the cement and iron-steel sectors only in the long term."

The original document in Turkish can be accessed here.