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European Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Laboratory Infrastructure

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Promoting European leadership in CCS technology

A project to establish a distributed world-class lab network will help Europe become a leading light in CCS research, opening up new commercial opportunities and providing a coordinated effort to tackling climate change.


While global demand for 'Carbon capture storage' (CCS) continues to grow, further development is urgently needed if this technology is to become viable and cost-effective. To this end, the ambitious EU-funded ECCSEL (European Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Laboratory Infrastructure) project aims to establish European leadership in the field by developing world class distributed lab infrastructure, accessible for industry and research. The project has created partnerships in order to avoid duplication and streamline joint funding for new research facilities across Europe. Opening up research potential ‘As a facilitator of world-class CCS research, ECCSEL will be able to engage with the European research community and other knowledge providers to offer expertise, advanced laboratories and test sites,’ explains ECCSEL project director Sverre Quale from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). ‘This is not something that would be possible by a single nation working alone.’ ECCSEL has since been transformed into a permanent European legal entity called ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium). There is a main hub with national nodes, with around 50 distributed world-class laboratories and test pilots integrated into the structure. Completed and / or approved common investment plans total nearly EUR 90 million. The lab infrastructure, which currently connects nine countries, will encourage the development of commercial CCS applications to come out of Europe. For example, engineering companies and technology providers will be able to promote latest innovations and solutions to prospective partners, while plant owners and industrial partners will find it easier to invest in state-of-the-art CCS technologies. ‘ECCSEL ERIC will also ensure that facilities required for conducting research in priority areas are available for the international research community,’ adds Quale. ‘By doing this, ECCSEL ERIC will contribute to pushing technological development beyond the current state-of-the-art, thereby accelerating the commercialisation and deployment of CCS.’ Environmental leadership In addition to representing an economic opportunity for European business, CCS is also an emerging technology of geopolitical importance. ‘In order to meet the 2°C scenario of the IEA (International Energy Agency) and the Paris Agreement (1.5°C), CCS must be developed and deployed within a decade,’ says Quale. In its most recent roadmap, the IEA provides advice on how CCS should be applied in various regions through to 2030 and 2050, while emphasising the importance of employing CCS extensively in power generation and industry sectors. ‘In a European context, this means that aggregated CO2 amounts of 1.8 Gt until 2030 and 12.2 Gt until 2050 need to be captured and stored, taking into account expected growing demands. According to the IEA, 40 % of these emission cuts must take place in European industry. The challenges of climate change and the corresponding need for CCS research, innovation, technology development, testing and verification cannot be met by today’s individually based research laboratories alone.’ As a result, the need for upgraded and new CCS research facilities has been widely recognised among stakeholders across Europe. This has been expressed through platforms such as the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP) and the European Energy Research Alliance on CCS (EERA-CCS), and will now be realised through ECCSEL. ‘Ultimately, our hope is that we will fulfil our vision, which is to enable low to zero CO2 emissions from industry and power generation in Europe, and to contribute strongly in combating climate change,’ concludes Quale.


Carbon, CCS, ECCSEL, ERIC, climate change, IEA, CO2

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