15 Apr 2021, 14:18
Kerstine Appunn

German industry urges new debate on carbon capture, storage and utilisation

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s largest industry association BDI is calling for a renewed and pragmatic discussion about the need for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCSU) in industry processes in order to reach the goal of climate neutrality that the EU has set for 2050. In a new paper, they list the issues around CCSU that need to be resolved to allow new technologies and procedures to take hold in various CO2 intensive industries such as the cement, steel or chemicals industry. Apart from increased research and development of technologies that can capture carbon when it is emitted during chemical processes and store or use it to manufacture substances such as synthetic fuel or (blue) hydrogen, the next government will need to address the lack of infrastructure for the transport of CO2, the lack of planning security and funding for the transformation of industries, and the problem of public acceptance for CO2 storage, the paper says. 

The German government has included research and innovation in the field of CCSU in its climate action programme 2030. Holger Lösch, deputy chief executive of the BDI, said in a press release that the next government should include CCSU in its overall strategy for achieving the 2050 climate goals. “In particular, it is also important to seize the opportunity to build an integrated hydrogen-carbon cycle within the framework of the national and European hydrogen strategy,” he explained. 

Commenting on the future role of CCSU in a web event held by the BDI, Vivian Raddatz from WWF Germany said that avoiding emissions should always be paramount over capturing and storing or using CO2, but that technology development for decarbonising industry processes still needs to take place now and must not be delayed. “We will use these technologies to decarbonise ‘the last mile’, but this must be planned at the beginning of the journey,” she said.

Years of protest against energy industry plans for using carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a lifeline for coal power made the technology a no-go issue for German politicians. However, most stakeholders now agree that CCSU will be necessary for reaching the net-zero target, including the use of a sizeable carbon storage potential under the North Sea.

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