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CCUS technologies: Important building blocks for climate protection

The capture, use and storage of CO2 has been tried and tested. What is missing, however, is scaling up to industrial scale as well as trust and acceptance among the population. Germany could play a pioneering role here with model regions and establish a CO2 market in the long term. Pilot projects can help to gain the acceptance of the population.

In future, technologies for the capture, utilisation and offshore storage of carbon (Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage, CCUS for short) should be accessible across the board in model regions and a cost- and resource-efficient use of carbon cycles should be tested across all sectors. Companies would cooperate along a CO2-based value chain within the framework of cluster solutions. In this way, for example, waste streams from one company can be reused as raw materials elsewhere. This form of symbiosis between sectors and companies provides an excellent basis for a CO2 market in Germany.

With a model region for CCUS technologies, investment costs and risks for the construction and operation of pilot plants can be borne by several partners and joint know-how can be expanded. The solutions, innovative applications and value chains demonstrated there would be transferable to other regions and industries. This would promote the scaling up of CCUS processes. In view of stricter emission targets, the capture, use and storage of carbon is a promising approach for German industry to achieve the envisaged climate neutrality by 2045 - because technologies for the direct avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions alone are not sufficient for this. In addition to the storage of CO2, the carbon dioxide can be recycled in the sense of a hydrogen or carbon circular economy. According to the International Energy Agency, the annual global demand for CO2 as a raw material is currently around 230 million tonnes ( for example, for the production of fertiliser). Last but not least, a model region could help to create and increase acceptance of and trust in CCUS technologies of the population and politicians.

What needs to be done?

  • Increase public funding: In Germany, investment funds of 500 million euros are planned for CCUS technologies by 2025. In order to raise the potential of the technologies and implement structures for a carbon-hydrogen cycle in this country, as in neighbouring countries (for example, The Netherlands), the resources allocated would have to be increased.
  • Counting CO2 reductions towards climate targets: In order to make the use of CCUS technologies economically attractive for companies, the use and storage of CO2 should be made creditable under the EU emissions trading scheme.
  • Build up transport infrastructure: An infrastructure for the transport of CO2 must be established by 2030 at the latest. In addition, the framework conditions for international transport should be eased.
  • Promote public debate: Projects and regions pursuing the use of CCUS technologies need to be transparent and their functioning and logic openly communicated. Dialogue with the local population is recommended for this - it should be made clear that CCUS approaches are directly linked to climate protection.