Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a set of technologies aimed at capturing, transporting, and storing CO2 emitted from power plants and industrial facilities. The goal of CCS is to prevent CO2 from reaching the atmosphere by storing it in suitable underground geological formations.
Because a significant amount of power generation and industry will continue to rely on fossil fuels in the future, the use of CCS is important in helping decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
CCS development in the EU
Even with supportive EU regulations and co-funding opportunities provided through the European Energy Programme for Recovery and NER300, carbon capture and storage has failed to develop at the rate expected. A 2013 consultation launched by the European Commission examined the state of play for CCS and invited views on how to encourage its development in the future.
The consultation found:
- while more than 20 small-scale demonstration CCS projects are operating globally, none of these are in the EU
- at current low carbon prices, companies do not see an economic rationale to invest in CCS
- a first generation CCS power plant is expected to be 60% to 100% more expensive than a similar conventional plant
- the cost of CCS is expected to decrease in the long-run as a result of research and development activities, and the building of economies of scale.
Assessing the CO2 storage potential in Europe
The CO2StoP project created a database of locations and capacities of underground geological formations in Europe that could be used to store CO 2. It also created a tool to recalculate the accessible CO2 storage resource in Europe – the amount of CO 2 that could theoretically be stored at these sites - and assessed the chances of successful storage at each site. The CO2StoP tool can calculate the fraction of the theoretical storage capacity that can be accessed using all currently available technologies regardless of cost, producing estimates very similar to the Technically Accessible CO2 Storage Resource (TASR) used by the US Geological Survey. A 2015 study summarises the results of the CO2Stop project.
CCS project network
To help support early large-scale CCS demonstration projects in the EU, the European Commission operates the CCS Project Network. This network aims at helping CCS become a commercially viable technology by sharing knowledge and raising public awareness.