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Industrial carbon management

Industrial carbon management is the range of technologies to capture, store, transport and use CO2 emissions from industrial and energy production facilities, as well as to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

Industrial carbon management focuses on 3 technological pathways

  • 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 construction products, chemicals or fuels 
  • Removal of CO2 from the atmosphere: biogenic or atmospheric CO2 is captured by technological means and put into permanent storage 

CO2 transport infrastructure serves as a key enabler for these 3 pathways and is necessary to establish a fully-fledged CO2 market in Europe. Where captured CO2 is not used directly at the place of capture, it will need to be transported for use in industrial processes (for example for construction products, synthetic fuels, plastics or other chemicals) or permanent storage. CO2 can be transported by pipeline, ship, rail and truck.  

Industrial carbon management strategy

The adoption of the European Green Deal, the European Climate Law and the subsequent proposals to increase energy and climate targets for 2030 have made carbon management technologies an important part of the EU decarbonisation effort.

The Commission already provides a regulatory framework for the safe transport and storage of CO2 through Directive 2009/31/EC on the geological storage of carbon dioxide. As regards CCU, the technology is regulated in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, which promotes renewable fuels of non-biological origin, and among others, fuels produced from captured CO2.

In December 2021, the Commission adopted a Communication that aims to establish sustainable and climate-resilient carbon cycles. It lists key actions to support industrial capture, use and storage of CO2, including the assessment of cross-border CO2 infrastructure deployment needs at EU, regional and national levels until 2030 and beyond. 

On 30 November 2022, the European Commission adopted a proposal for an EU-wide voluntary framework to certify carbon removals (COM/2022/672). It will boost innovative industrial carbon removal technologies, such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BioCCS) or direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS). Both these technologies can capture carbon and store it permanently in geological formations.

In November 2023, the Commission published a report providing an analysis of the response received from stakeholders and citizens to the open public consultation on the industrial carbon management strategy, which closed on 31 August 2023.

For more facts, consult the fact sheet ‘Industrial carbon management: capturing, storing and using CO2 to reach our climate goals'. 

Timeline for the strategy

  1. 6 February 2024
    Adoption of the Communication on industrial carbon management
  2. 27-28 November 2023
    CCUS Forum plenary session
  3. 6 October 2023
    Event presenting result of the public consultation
  4. 8 June 2023
    Call for evidence and public consultation
  5. 30 November 2022
    Adoption of a proposal for a regulation establishing a Union certification framework for carbon removals (COM/2022/672)
  6. 15 December 2021
    Communication on sustainable carbon cycles (COM/2021/800)

EU support

The Commission actively supports industrial carbon management projects. The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) launched in February 2024 a web tool presenting a portfolio of interactive ICM projects.

The Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) published in February 2024 a study on the future CO2 transport network for Europe and related investment needs.

Innovation fund

As of February 2024, the Innovation Fund supports 26 industrial carbon management projects that have successfully applied to one of the small or large-scale calls organised since 2020, totaling more than €3.3 billion. Selected applicants currently benefiting from Innovation Fund grants can be consulted on the Commission's website. 

Horizon EU

The Commission also supports research, development and innovation for industrial carbon management technologies through Horizon Europe and stakeholder engagement, such as the Strategic Energy Technology Plan Working Group on CCUS and its associated European Technology and Innovation Platform ‘Zero Emissions Platform’.

Under Horizon Europe Cluster 5 (Climate, Energy and Mobility), the Commission supports developing new and/or improving existing CO2 capture technologies. A dedicated project, CCUS Zero Emission Network (ZEN), supports the integration of CCS and CCU in hubs and clusters, including knowledge-sharing activities.

Under Horizon Europe Cluster 4 (Digital, Industry and Space), several calls address carbon capture and utilisation in topics related to industrial symbiosis and Hubs for Circularity.

State aid

The Commission also enables EU countries to support the carbon capture and storage and carbon capture and utilisation technology through state aid under certain conditions specified in its Guidelines on State aid for climate, environmental protection and energy 2022.

CO2 transport infrastructure

CO2 transport infrastructure projects are within the scope of the Trans-European Networks for Energy. They can apply to become projects of common interest (PCIs) and subsequently apply for support under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Every 2 years, the Commission adopts an EU list of PCIs and since 2023 also of projects of mutual interest (PMIs).

In November 2021, the Commission published the 5th PCI list from the Trans-European Networks for Energy Regulation (TEN-E Regulation). This list includes 6 CO2 trans-European infrastructure projects focusing on the development of CO2 hubs.

As announced in December 2023, in the last call for funding proposals open to projects from the 5th PCI list of November 2021, 5 CO2 networks projects were selected for funding under CEF.

In November 2023, the Commission adopted a new PCI list based on the revised TEN-E Regulation, which also includes PMIs between EU and non-EU countries. This list includes 14 CO2 network projects across Europe. The first PCI/PMI list is expected to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament at the end of April 2024.

The Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) published in February 2024 a study on the future CO2 transport network for Europe and related investment needs.

Industrial Carbon Management Forum

CCUS Zero Emission Network

The Commission supports the CCUS Zero Emission Network (ZEN), which took over the activities of the previously supported CCUS Project Network (2018-2023). It aims to build a coherent ecosystem of CCUS actors capable of decarbonising Europe’s industry and delivering the EU’s climate target plan.