Outlook of CO2 utilization pathways with good prospects to reach the European market at short-medium term
A reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% below the 1990 level, an EU-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27%, and renewed ambitions for energy efficiency policies, are among the pillars of the new EU framework on climate and energy for 2030. However, Europe will continue to rely on fossil fuels to meet its energy needs in the short to medium term. Reconciling the continued use of fossil fuels with the need for decarbonisation, carbon capture can play a significant role in the future power technology mix. Power plants with carbon capture could have a share in power generation in a range of 7 to 32%, according to the various decarbonisation scenarios considered by the European Energy Roadmap 2050.
Once CO2 is captured, it can be stored underground in geological formations or utilised as raw material for other industrial processes, to produce chemicals and fuels. Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) will be mainly applied to large stationary sources, i.e. coal or gas power plants and heavy industry plants, which are, together with transport, the main contributors to CO2 emissions. There are a number of CO2 utilisation pathways with a potential for large scale commercial deployment, which are at different levels of technological and market readiness.
This presentation will outline the currently ongoing assessment by the JRC of the techno-economic characteristics and commercialisation opportunities of selected carbon capture and utilisation pathways (CCU), with good prospects to reach the European market in the short-medium term, as identified during a recent expert meeting organised by the European Commission: (i) urea, (ii) methanol, (iii) formic acid, (iv) polyurethanes and (v) carbonates production from captured CO2. Moreover, the analysis addresses the CO2 balance of these technology options, compared to conventional synthesis processes to understand their potential impact on climate change mitigation efforts. The assessment is finally accompanied by a market analysis for each CCU option and its conventional route, looking at the timeframe 2015-2030.