Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) are an important set of technologies to achieve Scotland’s net-zero targets. 

CO2 utilisation is thought to be a complementary technology to CO2 sequestration. Whilst geological sequestration can permanently store CO2, CO2 utilisation can be used to produce conventional products such as carbon containing fuels, chemicals, and polymers without reliance on additional extraction of fossil carbon. It is therefore of interest for sustainable manufacturing and the circular use of resources, particularly if biogenic or atmospheric CO2 is utilised.

A large number of technology pathways are available for development in Scotland. This report explores these pathways based on development stage, feasibility and economic opportunity.

Main findings

  • Gas fermentation and microalgae growth techniques could build on Scottish expertise and have local product markets in aquaculture.
  • Synthetic fuels could benefit from Scottish renewable electricity and have large European market potential.
  • Carbon nanomaterials are an emerging opportunity linked to high-value lightweight materials and manufacturing of electrical devices.

Factors to consider for Scotland to unlock the full potential of CO2-utilisation:

  • Funding will be required to increase the Technology Readiness Level.
  • CO2 utilisation may benefit dispersed sites or small-scale emitters where capture, transport & sequestration is challenging.
  • CO2 utilisation can offer economic opportunities for emitters of biogenic CO2 able to easily capture their emissions (e.g. distilleries).
  • The relevant scale and investment requirements vary with technology and application.
  • Whilst some products can be cost-competitive and feed directly into local supply chains, other products require new policy incentives or development of new applications.
  • Close integration of value chains and synergies with existing industries should be considered when locating utilisation projects.