CEMBUREAU calls for debate on CO2 utilisation

CEMBUREAU calls for debate on CO2 utilisation
14 February 2023

CEMBUREAU, the European cement association, has reacted to the 2041 phase-out date for industrial CO2 in the European Commission draft Delegated Act (ECDA) on renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs).

“By proposing an arbitrary deadline on the use of industrial CO2, the European Commission severely restricts the deployment of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) in the cement sector”, commented Koen Coppenholle, CEO of CEMBUREAU. “We regret that this phase-out date was established without a thorough impact assessment.  This risks negatively impacting several ongoing carbon capture projects in the EU, at a time of a global race for green investments.” 

While a number of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) projects aim at permanently storing the captured CO2 in geological sites (CCS), some others aim to re-use the captured CO2 in products (CCU), for instance in RFNBOs. The ECDA draft on the greenhouse gas-saving criteria for renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) sets the rules under which such fuels can qualify as sustainable. In its reasoning, the European Commission considers that CO2 from industrial sources should not be allowed for the production of synthetic fuels as of 2041, as this would go against the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050. CEMBUREAU strongly challenges this approach from the European Commission:
• Synthetic fuels using industrial CO2 make a decisive contribution to climate mitigation in the short to medium term, by considerably reducing the amount of CO2 emissions and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. It is therefore appropriate to allow for the continued use of industrial CO2 until at least 2050.
• No impact assessment has been presented by the European Commission. In particular, the availability of what the Commission defines as sustainable sources of CO2 (direct air capture and the capture of biogenic emissions, deemed to replace industrial CO2) in 2040 is unknown.
• The ECDA threatens the viability of existing CCU projects in the cement sector, which require a payback time of 30-35 years.
• The ECDA does not recognise the reality of industrial installations like cement plants, which are faced with unavoidable CO2 emissions, and may not have access to CO2 geological storage sites. For these cement plants, re-using CO2 is the only approach to transition towards carbon neutrality. 

“We need a real, thorough debate on CO2 utilisation”, added Coppenholle. “At a time we see many carbon capture projects emerging in the sector, it is fundamental that EU policies supports CCU, in addition to the deployment of CO2 transport infrastructure and storage.”

Published under Cement News