Diversification of supply and domestic production of natural, low carbon and renewable gases is now more important than ever. The recently published REPowerEU Communication makes that clear by outlining targets for biomethane and renewable hydrogen production. As I mentioned during my presentation at the 4th Global LNG Forum, to scale up the biomethane and hydrogen markets these targets must be cemented in European legislation through Fit for 55 and the Gas Package. Alongside that, we also need a rapid scale-up of CCUS.
Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) has been named by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as a critical piece in the decarbonisation puzzle. European climate strategy rests on the deployment of a successful CCUS value chain. This will help build the hydrogen market, decarbonise hard to abate industries like steel and cement and, when coupled with biomethane production, deliver net negative emissions.
At Eurogas, we recently published a paper outlining all the necessary steps needed to effectively deploy CCUS technology. The EU policy framework should define a holistic and coherent approach to the development and deployment of CCUS technologies. It should cover currently overlooked parts of the value chain such as CO2 transport infrastructure.
The recent Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) revision delivered on key aspects of CCUS infrastructure. It acknowledged CO2 storage as necessary, but more needs to be done. TEN-E is limited to supporting Projects of Common Interests (PCI), which only constitute large-scale infrastructure. More needs to be developed locally in the Member States to make use of all available CO2 storage facilities.
Transport of CO2 from industrial clusters or other emitters to storage facilities will require the development of new CO2 infrastructure networks. That would include pipelines, ships and loading docks. To leverage the potential of the utilisation of carbon, we need infrastructure efficiently connecting CO2 emitters with CO2 storage and users, for example, a connection between a cement plant and producers of fuels from CO2. Moreover, there needs to be a push for innovative solutions to transport and store carbon dioxide, for instance, the Northern Lights project, where part of the CO2 shipping route is covered by specifically designed maritime vessels.
The European Commission’s 2030 target of 35 bcm biomethane production is another opportunity to develop CCUS technologies and the EU CO2 infrastructure. Coupled with biogas production and its upgrading into biomethane, carbon capture can achieve net negative emissions. It can take us closer to achieving our climate goals. However, biomethane production is centred locally. Most biomethane plants are connected to distribution grids. This means that CO2 infrastructure also needs to be developed locally to best utilise its potential.
Finally, we need targets for the scale-up of CCUS technologies, the volume of CO2 being captured, and the deployment of the CO2 transport infrastructure. In the same way, as renewable gas targets will help drive its scale-up, targets for CCUS will help leverage the full potential of this technology, taking us one step closer to a decarbonised economy.