European Commission endorses carbon removal as key part of the climate toolbox

At the recent launch of the pioneering Greensand carbon capture project, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, noted that “the science is clear. Industrial carbon removal is a necessary part of our climate toolbox” and called for the capture of 300Mt of CO2 per year by 2050.

As part of its efforts to attain net zero emissions by 2050, Europe is increasingly exploring Carbon Capture and Storage (CCUS) technologies. “There is, my friends, no chance in hell that we will meet the global climate targets without CO2 storage,” added Lars Aagaard, the Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities.

One of 72 planned carbon capture projects in Europe, Greensand is expected to store up to eight million tons of CO2 per year by 2030, a vital initial step in the crucial deployment of large-scale carbon capture. The initial operational run saw CO2 captured in Belgium liquified, shipped, and injected into a depleted oil field off the Danish coast.

With the right measures to improve the business case for CCUS, IOGP Europe believes the EU could store up to 1Gt of CO2 per year in 2050, well over the 300Mt objective. “This step is extremely positive, it opens a new chapter in Europe’s energy transition,” said François-Régis Mouton, IOGP Regional Director Europe. “There’s no time to waste and the oil & gas industry is determined to help. For CCUS value chains to emerge at scale, the EU still needs to develop a regulatory framework and incentives that are competitive on the global scene. The future of some energy-intensive industries depends on it.”

President von der Leyen further called Greensand “a big moment for Europe’s green transition and for our clean tech industry, the first ever full value chain for carbon capture and storage in Europe”.

Led by IOGP member Wintershall Dea and chemical company Ineos, Greensand is a consortium of 23 organizations with expertise in carbon capture and storage, including business, academia, government and start-ups. Greensand is supported by the Danish state through the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP). CCS is considered a key technology in reaching the Danish 2045 net zero target.

To facilitate the energy transition, the technology will be a key component of the EU Green Deal in abating industrial emissions, producing low carbon hydrogen and decarbonizing power generation.