Carbon Capture & Utilization (CCU) technologies will play a crucial role in the future renewable energy system and for climate protection.
In an effort to integrate renewable CCU in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), a group of German experts have asked European decision makers involved in the revision of the Renewable Package to include six crucial mechanisms in the legislation
As the authors explain in the petition, CO2 can be captured from biofuel and biogas production or various industrial processes, from flue gas from coal, natural gas or crude oil plants (purified & conditioned) or directly from the air (direct air capture).
To utilize the Carbon Dioxide (CO2), renewable energy for the chemical reduction of CO2 is required.
From CO2 and H2, a wide range of fuels and chemicals can be produced by catalytic processes such as methanisation, methanol synthesis (and further processes) or Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.
CCU technologies also include biotechnology processes with bacterial systems, algae, cyanobacteria and synthetic biology for example. The different microorganisms process CO2 using different sources of energy and produce a wide range of fuels and chemicals.
When being processed with renewable energy, CO2 is an infinite resource for producing fuels and chemicals with a high potential for climate protection. When speaking about this combination of CCU with renewable energy as the only energy source to reduce CO2, the term renewable CCU or rCCU has recently been coined.
Apart from offering an infinite solution to the ever growing hunger for resources of humankind, the most important role of rCCU is the ability to store renewable electricity over a long time without losses and to convert fluctuating renewable electricity into fuels (for transport and for reconversion into electricity) and chemicals.
Therefore, rCCU is systemically important for the liberalized electricity market, since it offers the much-needed possibility to increase the flexibility of the grid and by this, to increase the share of renewables in the European electricity mix.
The petition calls on decision makers to acknowledge that the European Union cannot afford to miss or to delay the deployment of this new option to utilize and store renewable electricity, which is to extend the applications for renewable energy to renewable fuels and sustainable chemistry.
The ongoing development of the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework and the reform of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) is a unique opportunity to establish a regulatory framework in which rCCU is fully integrated, the petitioners say.