Carbon Capture & Utilisation (CCU) is a broad term that covers all established and innovative industrial processes that aim at capturing CO2 – either from industrial point sources or directly from the air – and at transforming the captured CO2 into a variety of value-added products such as chemical building blocks, food/feed, synthetic fuels or materials (in particular for the building sector). Most reactions to transform the CO2 molecule require an additional energy input, which must come from a renewable low carbon source. CO2 Utilisation is also sometimes called CO2 Transformation, CO2 Conversion, CO2 Recycling or CO2 Upcycling.
CCU brings value to Europe
The development and market deployment of CCU technologies can become one of the major growth areas in Europe’s future low carbon economy by:
- Offering solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as the energy-intensive process industries (e.g. cement and lime, chemicals, steel and other metals) or transportation (road, air, maritime) ;
- Sequestering CO2 permanently in building materials produced by the carbonation of mineral waste;
- Offering an alternative feedstock for the production of chemical building blocks, in replacement of fossil oil and gas;
- Facilitating the storage and transportation of renewable energy, thereby accelerating the transition of EU energy systems.
- Providing revenues to fund the implementation of Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) projects.
CCU is now!
Many CCU technologies are technically available now and offer solutions to rapidly and significantly reduce CO2 emissions from four crucial sectors of our European economy: energy, process industry, transportation and buildings.
Indeed, unlike other options, CCU technologies provide drop-in solutions which can be implemented without requiring any significant modification of existing production, distribution and use infrastructure.
The rapid large-scale deployment of these technologies is therefore a key component to reaching the EU’s climate objectives both in 2030 and in 2050, while at the same time creating job opportunities and strengthening the global leadership that Europe currently has on many CCU technologies.
In the current context where the environmental and social externalities of incumbent fossil-based technologies are not fully integrated in market prices, the speed of the commercial deployment of innovative CCU solutions will largely depend on the development of a strong supportive policy framework, composed of regulations and market incentives.
CO2 Value Europe is therefore working together with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States to ensure that CCU solutions can rapidly start to contribute to reaching the EU’s climate goals.