CARBON capture and storage (CCS) technology has been touted as a solution to de-carbonising heavy industries and providing clean energy to heat buildings.

But the technology is still yet to be scaled up and developed for the purposes it will be need for, if it is to help countries meet carbon and climate change targets.

CCS involves separating and capturing carbon dioxide from other gases before it enters the atmosphere – converting CO2 into liquid to be transported. The CO2 is pumped or injected deep underground for permanent storage.

The captured CO2 is injected into deep underground geological reservoirs, such as deep saline formations and depleted oil and gas reservoirs.

Porous rock layers are covered by an impermeable layer of rocks that prevents the carbon dioxide escaping and entering the atmosphere.

READ MORE: Warning over reliance on carbon capture and storage for climate targets

Across the globe, more than 80 per cent of the carbon captured for the technology is used to extract more oil via the process of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) - rather than for power generation and other uses.

The technology is thought to be able to capture up to 95 per cent of carbon dioxide, but the number is more likely to be around 90 per cent – meaning 10 per cent could potentially escape back into the atmosphere.

The Petra Nova facility in the United States which opened in 2017 has suffered outages on 367 days and missed capture targets by around 17 per cent.

The Committee on Climate Change has pointed to CCS as being essential in meeting net zero carbon targets – with a need to develop the technology to help produce low-carbon electricity and hydrogen.

But the UK currently has no CCS facilities in operation or under construction.

The UK Government believes that CCS infrastructure is likely to be delivered with storage capacity for up to 78 billion tonnes of CO2 using reservoirs deep underground off the UK coastline.

Scotland’s first carbon capture plant will be constructed at the St Fergus gas plant in Aberdeenshire. It is hoped the Acorn CCS facility opens in 2024 and could remove 340,000 tonnes of CO2 per year – labelled a “relatively small project” by the Scottish Government.

Ministers hope the plant will “act as a major clean growth catalyst” and open up wider opportunities if it is successfully commercialised.

READ MORE: Scotland should become 'carbon capture hub' for Europe as part of climate strategy

Alongside the Acorrn CCS project, a parallel hydrogen project will transform natural gas into “clean-burning hydrogen” - set to be operational by 2025 and will also rely on capture and storage technology.

Scottish ministers believe Scotland has “substantial potential” to develop CCS infrastructure.

The Scottish Government claims CCS is the “most cost-effective de-carbonisation technology for key sectors of Scottish industry”, stressing that the commercialisation of the technology is needed for negative emission technology, which are “needed to reduce emissions at the rate necessary to meet our climate change targets”.