An ambitious international project to support the development of low-carbon energy and industry in Southern and Eastern Europe got under way in May with funding from the European Union.
Headed by the French geological survey, BRGM, the research partnership combines the expertise of 17 partners from ten European countries in the field of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS); a technology considered crucial to climate action.
In 2017, the International Energy Agency warned that CCUS technologies were not developing fast enough to meet emissions reduction targets laid out in the Paris Agreement. The STRATEGY CCUS project aims to meet this challenge in eight regions identified as promising for CCUS by producing local development plans and business models tailored to industry’s needs.
The plans will also define carbon dioxide (CO2) transport corridors between local CCUS clusters of industry, and connecting with North Sea CCUS infrastructure, in order to reduce costs and contribute to a Europe-wide CCUS infrastructure.
The project team, which intends to develop plans in close cooperation with stakeholders, will also provide methodologies and examples of best practice for potential CCUS developers, for areas such as public acceptance, stakeholder engagement, lifecycle analyses and techno-economic assessments.The promising start-up regions were selected within seven countries – Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Romania and Poland – representing 45% of Europe’s CO2 emissions from the industry and energy sectors (EEA, 2016).
They feature elements considered ideal for CCUS development, such as clusters of industry, CO2 storage and/or utilisation opportunities and the potential for hydrogen production and use.
Dr Fernanda M L Veloso, of BRGM and project coordinator, said: “STRATEGY CCUS is crucial to paving the way for operational CCUS sites from the early 2020s, as it will elaborate on the feasibility plans of promising regions and take into account technical, economical and societal aspects. Countries bordering the North Sea are already discussing plans for CCUS development and offshore geological storage. There is thus an urgent need for the rest of Europe to engage in strategic planning for CCUS development, giving priority to local solutions before looking at wider European connection schemes.”
Photo: The STRATEGY CCUS team at the project launch in Orleans, May 2019. Credit: BRGM