CCS: global advances, more can be done

Published: 2012-05-08

IEA notes fair  progress in 2011, but efforts must increase. Italy’s performance was good, especially thanks to Enel. CCS needs to be financially supported, according to academic researchers

CCS: global advances, more can be done

2011 has been a favourable year for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, one of the most promising ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the end of the year a significant achievement was the inclusion of CCSin theClean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the UN.

These advances were summarised in Tracking Progress in Carbon Capture and Storage, a report that was drawn up by the International Energy Agency (IEA) jointly with the Global CCS Institute. The document was presented at the third Clean Energy Ministerial Meeting (CEM) of energy ministers, held in Abu Dhabi.

The paper emphasised the need to move on further over the next few years, with governments showing a stronger commitment and more tangible applications. The delay is particularly marked in developing countries, precisely where emissions are expected to grow the most.

At a global level, Europe appears to be the most reactive and enterprising in the development of CCS, one of the leading technologies under the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Planof the EU Commission.

The initiatives recently launched by the Brussels-based Directorate General for Energy include the demonstration project financed through the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR), which involve Poland, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.

Italy is one of the most advanced EU Member States, both regarding the transposition of the European directive on CCS in the domestic legislation and its commitment concerning the development of this technology, especially thanks to Enel’s experiments and achievements like, for instance, the CO2 capture pilot plant that was put into service in March 2011 in Brindisi.

According to Enzo Boschi, who teaches geophysics at the University of Bologna, Italy’s performance in 2011was even better than that of Germany, where the federal policy still shows uncertainties toward this technology.  

Nevertheless, also Italy needs a firmer policy. According to Boschi, not including CCS among the fields that need financial support was a great mistake, considering its significant potential regarding emissions reduction. 

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