23 Sep 2019

An enabling framework for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Europe

An overview of key issues

Milan Elkerbout / Julie Bryhn

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There are few credible scenarios for reaching the EU’s long-term climate policy objectives, such as net-zero by 2050, without the large-scale deployment of CCS technology. Carbon capture and storage technology is a pre-requisite for the decarbonisation of energy-intensive industries, which in the EU are responsible for about a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, carbon capture technologies have only been tested at smaller scales and are not yet available at scale for the multiple energy-intensive industries that need them. To prepare for larger-scale CCS deployment in the period after 2030, steps should be taken today to address economic as well as political barriers, and thereby support development of key infrastructure and technology. In doing so, policy should focus on improving the investment case for both CCS as well as low-carbon industrial products that carbon capture makes possible. This includes specific financing models that account for the high capital intensity of CCS, regional variation in industrial clusters, infrastructure and storage availability as well as the need to combine both private and public money.


  • Plans for CCS deployment should be developed in parallel with analysis on the expected demand for negative emissions, as well as how to deliver these negative emissions. Imperfect capture rates and bio-energy with CCS (BECCS) use will impact this demand.
  • Policy support should target the improvement of capture rates in major energy-intensive industries so that theoretical potentials can be demonstrated.
  • To support scale-up, initial focus should be on industrial clusters where various sources of CO2 can be combined into larger volumes.
  • EU state aid rules (e.g. environmental state aid guidelines) should facilitate member state spending to support CCS infrastructure development.
  • Political choices should be made as to the market and financing models that will apply to CCS development, both on the capital investment side as well as on the operational financing side.