UKCCSRC Spring 2024 Conference – Plenary 4 – European Updates (ECR Meeting Fund)

Ben Petrovic (Brunel University, London), Marcin Pokora (University of Sheffield), Stephen Shearan (Swansea University) and Amin Taghavinejad (University of Glasgow) share their takeaways from “Plenary session 4 – European Updates” at the UKCCSRC Spring 2024 Conference.

Figure 1: Stuart Haszeldine introduces the fourth plenary session at the UKCCSRC’s 2024 Spring Conference at The University of Manchester.

The fourth plenary session marked the start of the second day at the UKCCSRC’s Spring 2024 Conference, which aimed to take an international view of CCS, with this first plenary session looking to explore the view in Europe. The sessions on the previous day gave the current status of a number of the larger UK projects and clusters, such as the East Coast Cluster and HyNet, delivered by Ben Kek and David Walker, respectively. We also saw talks from Nicola O’Dowd (DESNZ), a conversation with Bryony Livesey of the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, and a series of more technical research talks.  Overall, this first day provided an in-depth overview of the UK CCS landscape and highlighted the current path to the future of CCS in the UK.

Figure 2: Speakers from the fourth plenary of the UKCCSRC Spring Conference 2024. From left to right: Joop Hazenberg, CCSA (Brussels); Brigitte Jacobs, CATO; David Phillips, Aker Carbon Capture.

Kicking off the first session of the day was Joop Hazenberg, EU Director of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA). One of the major takeaways from Joop’s talk was the imminent introduction of the Net-Zero Industry Act, which is due to be enacted in June 2024 and will apply to all EU member states immediately, with no need of transposition of the act into law. The act stems from the Green Deal Industrial Plan and is intended to be a mechanism for the scale-up green technology manufacture within the EU, pushing the transition to extremely low, zero, or negative greenhouse gas emissions. Joop also provided an overview of some of the projections for CCS and CCU up to 2050 (Figure 3 below). From the projections shown, CCS and CCU projects are expected to be capturing 50 Mt/y of CO2 by 2030, increasing more than five-fold to 280 Mt/y by 2040, and finally growing to 450 Mt/y by 2050. As for storage, it is predicted that at least 250 Mt/y of CO2 will be subject to long-term storage by 2040, with the rest accounted for by CCU projects.

Figure 3: Projections for the amounts of CO2 captured for storage and utilisation in the EU (top chart) and the share of captured CO2 by origin (bottom chart).[1]

The source of these emissions is also projected to change massively by 2050, which is not unexpected as process emissions fall purely through emissions reduction, as organisations push for inherently cleaner processes. With this reduction in process emissions, the share from other emissions sources is set to grow, though this might not necessarily be the case for all sources, i.e. fossil fuel and biogenic emissions. On the other hand, direct air capture (DAC) is expected to increase massively, with almost 40% of captured CO2 being via DAC by 2050. An additional projection sees the EU market potential for CCU and CCS being worth between €45 billion and €100 billion. Some of the highlights presented by Joop show that transport will be a key area of focus in the near future, with investment in transport infrastructure potentially amounting to €6.2 and 9.2 billion by 2030, potential for CO2 transport regulation, and a possible Important Project of Common European Interest for transport and storage. In total, European CCS projects are expected to amount to approximately €10 billion by 2030.

Following Joop’s speech, the next talk was delivered by Brigitte Jacobs, Program Director at CATO (“CO2 Afvang, Transport en Opslag” (CO2 capture, transport and storage)), where she works across the whole value chain from capture to transport and storage of carbon. In her presentation, Brigitte provided CCS updates in the Netherlands, and introduced TNO, a leading Dutch CCS institute with projects on both the storage (Porthos and Aramis) and capture (LAUNCH and DIMMER) of CO2.

Figure 4: Brigitte Jacobs (CATO) walks the audience through TNO’s role in research in the Netherlands.

TNO is the largest independent applied research institute in the Netherlands. At over 90 years old and with more than 4000 employees, the institute works across the complete value chain, collaborating with academia and the wider markets and organisations. The Netherlands is committed to the Paris Agreement to reach carbon neutrality in 2050, with the ambition of reducing CO2 emissions by 60% by 2030. Industry in the Netherlands will be responsible for an 18.8 megatons reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, with around 50% of that by the virtue of CCS. TNO, with its support to the nation’s CO2 transport and storage projects, will aid these ambitious 2030 targets. The two storage projects Brigitte walked us through were Porthos and Aramis. The Porthos project intends to re-use existing infrastructure (platforms and wells), transporting CO2 via a collective pipeline to a platform 20km off the coast and into a depleted gas field over 3km below the North Sea. The storage site has a capacity of around 37 Mt CO2 equating to a storage rate of approximately 2.5 Mt per year for 15 years. The second storage project, Aramis, is a public-private partnership with open access and non-discriminatory terms and conditions. The project intends to achieve a maximum capacity of 22 Mt CO2 per year with an expected total storage capacity of over 400 megatons facilitating connections to several European clusters progressing towards their decarbonisation.

Aside from the transport and storage of CO2, its capture is also the focus of a number of research directions in the Netherlands, centring on amine degradation and regional emissions. The LAUNCH project coordinated by TNO has 11 partners from the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Norway and the USA, and was co-funded by the ERA-NET Accelerating CCS Technologies Initiative. The project aimed to provide insight into amine degradation mechanisms and to develop a publicly available solvent qualification programme de-risking CCS deployment by accelerating solvent development and implementation. The DIMMER project focuses on regional emissions with a view to assess the economic potential of different CO2 capture integration strategies and various methods for transportation and storage. One of the objectives is to change the CCS design perspective, bringing a holistic approach from source to sink, addressing both technical and non-technical challenges ending in a pilot-plant design which will consider the full-scale system essentially de-risking industrial decarbonisation. The third project mentioned was the multilayer REALISE project which finished at the end of 2023 and focused on the decarbonisation of refineries via CCUS. This resulted in the launch of OCTOPUS (Online Calculator To Optimise CO2 Capture Processes for Multiple Stacks), an open access tool for high-level evaluations on the feasibility of post-combustion CO2 capture for industrial processes.

Figure 5: David Phillips (Aker Carbon Capture) introduces his presentation highlighting his company’s role in deploying CCUS.

The final presenter of the session was David Phillips, who is currently serving as the Head of Capital Markets and New Market Strategy at Aker Carbon Capture, based in the United Kingdom. David outlined the offerings of Aker Carbon Capture, emphasizing three key modular capture systems. Firstly, he introduced the Just Catch™ 40, which has a CO2 capacity of 40 ktpa within a compact footprint of 13m x 23m, deliverable in under 22 months. Following that, he introduced the Just Catch™ 100, offering a CO2 capacity of 100 ktpa with dimensions of 19m x 24m, available within a timeframe exceeding 22 months. Lastly, he discussed the latest addition, the Just Catch™ 400, featuring an impressive capacity of 400 ktpa, yet maintaining a relatively compact footprint of 30m x 55m, deliverable within a timeframe of 24-30 months. David highlighted a significant advantage of the Just Catch™ systems: their modularity. This modular advantage sets them apart from other capture systems. Aker Carbon Capture’s ability to concurrently construct three Just Catch™ systems in parallel significantly reduces the space required for an efficient CO2 capture system. It was also noted that, while the CO2 capture system in Technology Centre Mongstad at the time wasn’t minimized in size, the implementation of Just Catch™ could potentially reduce the space for CO­2 capture by approximately 90% compared to the Technology Centre Mongstad system.

To conclude his presentation, David highlighted several ongoing projects by Aker Carbon Capture that are making a significant impact across Europe and beyond. Notably, Aker Carbon Capture has secured the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) for Hafslund Oslo Celsio’s CCS project, centred on their waste-to-energy plant at Klemetsrud in Norway. This project will utilize Aker Carbon Capture’s modularized Just Catch™ 400 unit. Additionally, Aker Carbon Capture is set to deploy five Just Catch™ units for a large-scale carbon capture project at the Ørsted Kalundborg Hub in Denmark. David also shed light on Aker Carbon Capture’s involvement in CCS capture projects in the UK, including their recent achievement of securing the Process Design Package (PDP) for designing studies aimed at establishing a post-combustion capture plant in Kent for the Uniper Grain Power Station. Furthermore, Aker Carbon Capture projects extend to the United States, where they will collaborate with a leading pulp and paper company to facilitate the full-scale deployment of multiple Just Catch™ 400 modular capture facilities, complete with permanent storage solutions and the generation of carbon removal credits.

In summary, this plenary session kicked off the day with a promising and exciting overview of the European CCS landscape, ranging from policy developments in the Net Zero Industry Act, to a number of large-scale projects which looks to be a massive leap in the right direction towards achieving our goals of industrial decarbonisation and net zero.


Communication “Securing our future – Europe’s 2040 climate target and path to climate neutrality by 2050 building a sustainable, just and prosperous society”, COM(2024) 63 (‘EU’s 2040 climate target communication”.