CCS features in low-carbon energy push

The European Commission has this week presented its first call for proposals under Horizon 2020 (H2020), its new Framework Programme for research and innovation, with carbon capture and storage (CCS) featuring in a specific call for "competitive low-carbon energy".

The overall H2020 programme will be worth more than ¤15 billion over its first two years, with the funding aimed at boosting Europe’s knowledge-driven economy as well as tackling major issues, such as energy and climate action. For the first time, the EC has indicated funding priorities over two years, providing researchers and businesses with more certainty on the direction of European Union research policy.

In its call for competitive low-carbon energy, the EC confirmed its commitment to achieving significant greenhouse gas emissions cuts, and underlined the need for CCS on both power generation and energy-intensive industries.

It stated: "The EU is committed to an overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of at least 80% by 2050. Nonetheless, fossil fuels will continue to be used in Europe's power generation as well as in other industrial processes for decades to come. Therefore, the 2050 target can only be achieved if the emissions from fossil fuel combustion in the power generation sector and energy-intensive industries are eliminated from the system. This will require the application of CCS."

The call underlines the importance of CCS to industrial sectors, such as steel, cement, lime, chemical industry and refining, suggesting that industrial applications "will open up new opportunities and avenues for CCS that can accelerate its deployment". It describes the two key challenges in the short term as geological storage and the application of industrial CCS.

Any proposals made in response to the first call will be expected to address these challenges. For example, geological storage projects must support the development and demonstration of best practices for the entire storage cycle – from site characterisation to operation, risk assessment, monitoring and mitigation/remediation of leakage, and including education and training. Knowledge sharing and public engagement will also be essential. The EC suggests that proposals requesting between ¤9 to 16 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

With regard to industrial CCS, proposals should aim at integrating CCS technology that optimises the use of energy in the capture process, minimises process efficiency losses, and achieves a suitable CO₂ purity for transport and storage. The EC suggests proposals in the order of between ¤4 to 9m.

The first H2020 call also encourages the spirit of cooperation between Member States and various stakeholders on developing and deploying CCS, through pilot-scale demonstration projects which will result in a more efficient use of financial support and promote knowledge sharing.


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