Europe is taking a leading role in fighting climate change, moving towards achieving an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Adopting low-carbon technologies at industrial scale is essential for reaching this goal.
The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) aims to put in place climate-neutral energy systems by bringing together the European Commission, national authorities, industry, civil society and researchers. Within the SET Plan strategy, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) (CCUS all together) is an essential solution for achieving this goal.
CCUS is both an enabler for industrial decarbonisation and a technology that complements European efforts to further reduce CO2 emissions and go carbon negative. The development of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure across Europe will allow all European CO2 emitters to access cost-efficient decarbonisation pathways. Furthermore, when geological storage of CO2 is not intended to be the final outcome, certain CCU applications can also be deployed to permanently store CO2, therefore helping the energy system to become more integrated. Accurate carbon accounting and monitoring of CO2 is crucial.
The CCU-CCS Implementation Working Group (IWG) or IWG 9 was established in 2017, under the SET Plan, to help advance the research and innovation (R&I) activities required to achieve the 2020 CCS and CCU targets agreed by the European Commission, SET Plan countries, and industry.
Targets and objective
By introducing the European Green Deal and the European Climate Law, the EU has strengthened its climate ambitions to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The European Commission has proposed including in the European Climate Law a new EU target for 2030 of reducing GHG emissions by at least 55% compared to levels in 1990.
The Commission’s proposal – now provisionally agreed with the European Parliament and the EU countries – paves the way towards achieving the net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the Paris Agreement goals. These developments provide the basis for CCS and CCU to progress in the coming decade. The CCU CCS SET Plan has updated its targets reflecting the EU’s ambitious environmental policy.
The CCU-CCS implementation plan under the SET Plan lays down specific targets for CCS and CCU deployment and associated R&I priorities for 2020 and 2030. The implementation plan is built on 6 clustered areas:
- full-scale projects
- clusters and infrastructure
- modelling, primarily to accelerate the large-scale deployment of CCUS technologies and meet the implementation plan’s targets.
Overall, the achievement of the specific targets for CCS-CCU deployment will involve:
- developing whole-chain commercial-scale CCS projects from industrial CO2 sources, as well as in the power sector and for low-carbon hydrogen production
- developing European cross-border CO2 infrastructure and monitoring the progress of European CO2 Projects of Common Interest
- promoting pilot projects on promising new capture technologies and CCU
- stressing how important it is to further develop CO2 storage in Europe.
A comprehensive overview of the progress made towards achieving the targets is available here.
The CCU-CCS SET Plan or IWG 9 is composed of 11 SET Plan countries:
|Participating SET Plan countries|
Its members include representatives from industry, non-governmental organisations, and research institutes. The IWG is chaired by the Netherlands, Norway and the zero emissions platform. Countries and stakeholders interested in accelerating the large-scale deployment of CCUS technologies and helping to achieve the implementation plan targets are invited to participate.
Documents produced by the CCU-CCS SET Plan are available on the dedicated website -section ‘Resources’. These are the main reports produced in 2020:
- Key enablers and hurdles for CCUS deployment.
- Review of carbon capture utilisation and carbon capture and storage in future EU decarbonisation scenarios
- Updated CCUS SET Plan implementation plan targets
- Follow up on current CCUS SET Plan implementation plan targets
- The role of CCUS in the energy system integration
- CCUS SET Plan market-ready projects
- CCUS SET Plan R&I priorities
- CCUS in the clean energy transition partnership SRIA
Factsheet 2020 (to be published)