European Industrial Carbon Management - Path to Sustainability

4 min readMay 8, 2024

Izabela Mońska

As you know from our previous article, CCS and CCU are essential strategies in the fight against climate change as they help to reduce emissions. Both carbon capture with permanent storage and the utilization of captured CO2 play crucial roles in mitigating the impact of greenhouse gases on our environment.

Industrial carbon management encompasses a variety of technologies aimed at capturing, storing, transporting, and utilizing CO2 emissions from industrial plants, in addition to extracting CO2 from the air. This field is centered around three distinct technological approaches:

· Capture of CO2 for storage (CCS) — CO2 emissions of fossil, biogenic or atmospheric origin are captured for permanent and safe geological storage

· Capture of CO2 for utilisation (CCU) — captured CO2 is used to substitute fossil-based carbon in synthetic products, chemicals or fuels

· Removal of CO2 from the atmosphere — biogenic or atmospheric CO2 is captured by technological means and put into permanent storage

Industrial Carbon Management Strategy

The EU’s commitment to the European Green Deal, the European Climate Law, and the subsequent initiatives to enhance energy and climate objectives for 2030 have elevated the significance of carbon management technologies in the EU’s decarbonisation endeavor.

The Commission has already established a regulatory framework for the safe transport and storage of CO2 through Directive 2009/31/EC on the geological storage of carbon dioxide. In terms of CCU, the technology is governed by Directive (EU) 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, which encourages renewable fuels of non-biological origin, including fuels derived from captured CO2.

In December 2021, the Commission introduced a Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles (COM/2021/800) with the goal of creating sustainable and climate-resilient carbon cycles. This communication outlines key actions to support the industrial capture, use, and storage of CO2, including evaluating the requirements for cross-border CO2 infrastructure deployment at EU, regional, and national levels until 2030 and beyond.

On 30 November 2022, the European Commission put forth a proposal (COM/2022/672) for an EU-wide voluntary framework to certify carbon removals. This initiative will promote innovative industrial carbon removal technologies like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BioCCS) or direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS), both of which can capture carbon and securely store it in geological formations.

In November 2023, the Commission released a report analyzing the feedback received from stakeholders and citizens during the open public consultation on the Industrial Carbon Management Strategy, which concluded on 31 August 2023.

The Commission released the Industrial Carbon Management strategy (COM/2024/62) on 6 February 2024, outlining a detailed plan for the EU to enhance its carbon management efforts.

On 6 February 2024, the Commission unveiled the Industrial Carbon Management strategy (COM/2024/62), which proposes a holistic approach for the EU to expand its carbon management initiatives.

European Union Support

Innovation Fund

As of February 2024, the Innovation Fund has supported 26 successful industrial carbon management projects that have applied and been successful in either small or large solicitations issued after 2020, with a total value of over €3.3 billion. Selected applicants currently benefiting from Innovation Fund grants can be found on the European Commission’s website.

Horizon EU

The European Commission has also engaged Horizon Europe and the Strategic Energy Technology Plan Working Group on CCUS and its associated European innovation platform, the Zero Emissions The European Commission supports research, development and innovation in industrial carbon management technologies through the involvement of stakeholders such as Horizon Europe, the Strategic Energy Technology Plan Working Group on CCUS and the associated European Platform for Technology Innovation ”Zero Emissions”.

The European Commission supports the development of new CO2 capture technologies and the improvement of existing technologies under the Horizon Europe Cluster 5 (Climate, Energy and Mobility). The dedicated project CCUS ZEN supports the integration of CCS and CCU in hubs and clusters, including knowledge sharing activities.

Horizon Europe Cluster 4 (Digital, Industry and Space)has several calls dealing with carbon capture and utilization in themes related to industrial symbiosis and Hubs for Circularity.

State Aid

The Commission also allows EU countries to support carbon capture and storage and carbon capture and utilization technologies through state aid under certain conditions specified in the Guidelines on State Aid for Climate, Environmental Protection and Energy 2022.

CO2 Transport Infrastructure

CO2 transport infrastructure projects fall within the scope of the Trans-European Network on Energy. These projects can apply for Projects of Common Interest (PCI) and then for support under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Every two years, the Commission will adopt a list of PCI’s for the EU and, from 2023 on wards, a list of Projects of Mutual Interest(PMI).

In November 2021, the Commission published the fifth PCI list of the Trans-European Network Regulation on Energy (TEN-E Regulation). This list includes six CO2 Trans-European Infrastructure projects focused on the development of CO2 hubs.

As announced in December 2023, five CO2 network projects were selected for CEF funding in the last call for funding proposals for projects on the 5th PCI list in November 2021.

In November 2023, the Commission adopted a new PCI list based on the revised TEN-Eregulation. This list includes 14 CO2 network projects across Europe. The first PCI/PMI list will be approved by the European Council and the European Parliament at the end of April 2024.

In February 2024, the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) published a study on Europe’s future CO2 transport network and related investment needs.





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