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White Paper 2

A short interview about the key findings with Dr. Sara Budinis and Dr. Adam Hawkes.

White Paper 2: Can technology unlock unburnable carbon?To stay within the 2°C carbon budget, a very significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption is required. If we are to meet our carbon budget the majority of global fossil fuel reserves cannot be combusted: the unburnable carbon.

The role of technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) may be critical in enabling a greater quantity of fossil fuel to be combusted within a low-carbon framework. This extensive review paper assesses the current state of knowledge regarding the ‘unburnable carbon’ issue, and attempt to provide clarity by quantitatively defining the potential role of CCS in unlocking the unburnable carbon over the next 85 years.  





Please cite the paper as: Budinis, S., Krevor, S., Mac Dowell, N., Brandon, N & Hawkes A. (2016) Can technology unlock ‘unburnable carbon’? Sustainable Gas Institute, Imperial College London.



16/12/16 – Weighing up the evidence on CCS – Grantham Institute blog 

04/05/16 – Guest Blog: Can technology unlock ‘unburnable’ carbon? – UKERC (archived)

24/05/16 – 5 things you need to know about… unburnable carbon – Grantham Institute blog


16/09/16 –  ‘Is CCS dead and if not how do we resuscitate it?’ by Jim Ward at IGEM Annual Conference, 2016 – (Presentation Slides)

30/06/16 – CCS in the UK: A new strategy – Advisory Group Report – A report for the Committee on Climate Change authored by Dr Rob Gross of the Grantham Institute (Policy Report)

01/06/16 – About Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) Technology – Boston Commons High Tech Network (Technology community website) (archived)

06/06/16 – Climate change: Will Carbon Capture and Storage be the techno-fix to ‘unlock’ unburnable fossil fuels? (Community Forum website)

Journal Articles

July 2017 – Can Carbon Capture and Storage Unlock ‘Unburnable Carbon’?  Energy Procedia, Volume 114, July 2017, 7504–7515

Launch Event

The evening commenced with a welcome by the Institute’s Director, Professor Nigel Brandon followed by a 30-minute overview of the report from the lead author, Dr. Sara Budinis.

The panel members include:-

· Dr. Luke Warren, new chief executive of Carbon Capture & Storage Association (CCSA)
· Professor. Paul Ekins, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Resources, at University College London and a UKERC Co-Director
· Ms. Charlotte Wolff-Bye, Head of Sustainability Strategy at Statoil

#unlockCCS hastag was used to promote the White Paper. Please find the Storify from the event.


19/05/16 – White Paper 2: Can technology unlock unburnable carbon?’ launch event at Imperial College

31/05/16 – Energy Futures Lab (EFL) seminar at Imperial College: Is there really such a thing as unburnable carbon? (archived)

13/06/16 – White Paper 2: Can technology unlock unburnable carbon?’at Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (archived)

18/09/16 – Seminar as part of the Energy and Climate Seminar Series at the University of Sussex (Slides)


18/05/16 – Carbon capture and storage key to unlocking unburnable carbon, says white paper – Imperial College 

18/05/16 – CCS key to burning more carbon by 2100, say researchers – Business Green

18/05/16 – Study says CCS key to climate goals, fossil-energy use – Oil & Gas Journal 

18/05/16 – CCS could have important role post-2050, says new report –New Power

18/05/16 – Carbon Capture Must Prevent 85-90% CO2 Emissions to Meet Climate Goals – Environmental Leader

18/05/16 –“Unburnable Carbon” Burnable with CCS, Report Finds – Exchange Monitor (archived)

18/05/16 – Carbon capture and storage key to unlocking unburnable carbon –  Hydrocarbon Engineering

19/05/16 – Carbon capture and storage technology – Energy & Environment Management (archived)

19/05/16- Study: Most fossil fuels unburnable without carbon capture – CarbonBrief

19/05/16 – Carbon capture to unlock burnable carbon – Green Energy UK

19/05/16 – CCS could save fossil fuels: research – IEA Clean Coal Centre

20/05/16 – Can Technology Unlock Unburnable Carbon? – Coal Hub

23/05/16 – Carbon capture key to unlocking ‘unburnable’ fossil fuel resources –

23/05/16 – Carbon capture key to unlocking ‘unburnable’ fossil fuel resources – Utility Week

23/05/16- Can Technology Unlock Unburnable Carbon? – IEAGHG blog (archived)

25/05/16 – CCS could save fossil fuels: research – Energy News Bulletin (archived)

01/06/16 – Editorial Comment – LNG Industry

01/07/16 – New carbon capture technologies and climate change – Cubed Magazine, British Council

01/07/16 – Will technology be able to unlock ‘unburnable carbon’? – Gastech News (archived)

19/07/16 – Unlocking unburnable carbon: CCS and the carbon bubble – Adjacent Oil and Gas (archived)

14/09/16 – Unlocking ‘unburnable carbon’ – Eurasia Industry

International Press

26/09/16 – Tecnologia pode viabilizar exploração de reservas fósseis – Valor Econômico (Brazilian)

30/09/16 – Estudo avalia a viabilidade do uso de gás natural no setor marítimo brasileiro – Portos e Navios (Brazilian) (archived)


Technical Reports

Can technology unlock 'unburnable carbon'?