The European Commission has recommended the European Union reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by the year 2040, as outlined in its visionary 2040 Roadmap.

In a bold move to support this ambition, the European Commission has adopted an Industrial Carbon Management Strategy. The strategy identifies the critical roles both carbon capture and carbon removal will play in reducing emissions by 90% by 2040, thereby propelling the EU towards achieving climate neutrality by 2050. It is a strategy Leilac strongly supports.

Capturing unavoidable emissions

In the immediate to medium term, the EU proposes that carbon capture should be targeted at industrial process emissions that are produced unavoidably from the raw materials used during ‘hard-to-abate’ industrial processes such as cement and lime production.

The focus on capture of unavoidable process emissions, in addition to the use of captured carbon in industry, is designed to ensure that CCUS is deployed to support a just transition towards a carbon neutral and internationally competitive industrial base.

Leilac is the only known technology that allows the low-cost capture of just unavoidable process emissions. Leilac also provides optionality for the use of low cost and low carbon heating methods, including alternative fuels and renewable electricity.

Increased carbon management infrastructure

To enable this transition, the EU’s strategy pledges robust support for the development of essential carbon transport and storage infrastructure, alongside the expansion of CO2 supply chains. This builds on the commitment made under the Net-Zero Industry Act to develop at least 50 million tonnes per year of CO2 storage capacity by 2030. Under the new proposals, CO2 storage capacity would be increased to 280 million tonnes per year by 2040, and 450 million tonnes per year by 2050.

In addition to these clear targets, the EU’s strategy sets out a comprehensive policy approach to ensure their delivery. It proposes a series of actions at both the EU and national level to enable the widespread deployment of carbon capture and carbon removal technologies, including plans to start preparatory work on a possible CO2 transport and storage regulatory package.

Targeted funding and permitting support

Further funding and permitting support for industrial projects is identified to bolster the deployment and scalability of CCUS. Through the Innovation Fund and Horizon Europe, over €3 billion in financial resources have already been allocated to support industrial carbon management projects. The Commission will now assess the implementation of market-based funding mechanisms for cement and lime CCUS, such as competitive bidding auctions as a service under the Innovation Fund. Leilac supports the implementation of policies and funding mechanisms that promote scalable and low cost solutions for industry and provide the most efficient use possible of public funding support.

The targeted support for industrial CCUS projects will also include new guidance and assistance for project permitting processes to help accelerate CCUS deployment. Initiatives designed to create a connected network across the carbon value chain include new tools to match CO2 off-takers and transport and storage operators, in addition to an atlas of storage sites.

A new and clear carbon accounting framework is proposed for utilisation of captured CO2 as a resource. This framework should reflect the climate benefits of using CO2 that comes from an unavoidable process emission source. In turn, it could incentivise the development of new and more sustainable processes and the capture of unavoidable emissions in the first place.

Direct Air Capture an essential complement to emissions reduction

In the longer term, the strategy identifies the capture of CO2 from the atmosphere as an “essential complement” to emissions reduction. It lays out the Commission’s plans to assess the volumes of CO2 that must be removed directly from the atmosphere to meet the EU’s emissions reduction ambitions for 2040 and 2050 and to determine the appropriate measures to achieve these goals, including how these removals and permanent storage could be accounted for under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Heirloom, in partnership with Leilac, is well placed to make a meaningful contribution to this essential requirement for the decarbonisation of the EU.

Finalizing the blueprint for carbon-neutral industry

The European Commission’s 2040 Roadmap and Industrial Carbon Management Strategy represent a landmark commitment to revolutionising Europe’s approach greenhouse gas emissions reduction. By targeting a 90% reduction by 2040 and aiming for climate neutrality by 2050, the EU is setting an ambitious yet achievable global standard for climate policy.

Sending a strong message to industries, the 90% emissions reduction target clarifies the medium to long-term investment landscape. Under the plan, the Green Deal evolves into the industrial decarbonisation deal, with a dedicated task force developing a global approach to carbon pricing and carbon markets.

Focusing on CCUS technologies in hard-to-abate industries builds on the EU’s recognition for a multilateral and just approach to decarbonisation. Collaborative efforts to increase carbon capture and storage, streamline permitting, and improve funding of CCUS projects reflect a strong commitment to climate action. The strategy also supports the improved energy independence and security that a decarbonised industrial sector can provide.

Following upcoming EU elections, the groundwork laid by the 2040 Roadmap and Industrial Carbon Management Strategy will serve as a critical blueprint for legislative measures aimed at creating a more sustainable and resilient Europe. It is a vision that Leilac, with its pioneering technology designed to efficiently capture unavoidable industrial and atmospheric carbon dioxide, is proud to support.