Accelerating the CCS momentum in the ARRRA-cluster

Publish date: June 22, 2023

There is no doubt that this year will be crucial for the development of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure in the industrial cluster spanning the Netherlands, Belgium, and North Rhine-Westphalia. Bellona’s very own Climate Policy Manager responsible for the region, Ariane Giraneza, took the time as part of Bellona’s ongoing CCS Campaign #CCS4NetZeroIndustry to outline recent updates, challenges and opportunities for the ARRRA-cluster for the months ahead.  

As CCS-projects in the ARRRA-cluster (or Antwerp, Rotterdam, Rhine, Rhur Area) move from planning to deployment, in part with the aid of EU funds, policy support at the European level is crucial. Firstly, to further de-risk investments in CCS, and secondly to ensure that the deployment of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure happens in a coordinated way across the borders in the region.  

The 50 Mtpa injection capacity target for CO2 in the Net-Zero Industry Act already sends a strong signal to the market on the importance of CCS deployment to facilitate industrial decarbonisation and the EU’s commitment and real action to reach this aim. However, in order to accelerate the development in the ARRRA cluster, the EU will have to also publish their Strategic Vision on CCUS to provide the necessary guidance for Member states and ensure consistency is maintained on CCS deployment in the EU. 

These are crucial steps to further the development of the ARRRA-cluster, spanning three EU Member States, with different particular challenges and opportunities – a status update of main developments over the past year below.  

The Netherlands has a clear leadership position when it comes to CCS-deployment with key projects like Porthos and Aramis that both have Project for Common Interest (PCI) status. The delay of the Dutch projects could have serious ramifications for the investment decisions in the wider ARRRA cluster. Porthos is the EU’s most advanced carbon capture and storage project and is crucial for demonstrating the technology at scale. 

Belgium, with no storage sites of its own, now has 2 very promising CCS-infrastructure projects in development: the Antwerp@C and the Ghent Carbon hub. Both projects are set to receive funding from the Connecting Europe facility (CEF). On top of that, Project Greensand provides a real proof-of-concept for the Belgian industry since in March of 2023 CO2 from Belgium (Zwijndrecht) was successfully captured, transported and stored under the Danish North Sea. 

Germany is still developing its carbon management strategy and its storage law will have to pass parliament, but there’s a real possibility the German government will ratify the London Protocol and publish their carbon management strategy by year’s end. This would make CCS possible and legal in Germany. The possibility of CCS in Germany would push the development of cross-border infrastructure in the ARRRA cluster forward. This development would create a more pressing environment for cooperation since the industry in North Rhine-Westphalia looks to transport its carbon to the Ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp for access to CO2 storage in the near term. 

Decarbonising Europe’s industry is crucial to achieve the goal of becoming the first climate neutral continent on earth. The ARRRA-cluster offers great opportunities to showcase the effective provision and use of interregional climate technologies and infrastructures for the decarbonisation of heavy industry. But to achieve this, the EU must now capitalise on present momentum and take the lead on developing a framework for CCS that avoids windfalls and maximises climate outcomes. 

In this interview, we sit down with Ariane Giraneza, Climate Policy Manager at Industrial Decarbonisation NL-BE-NRW, as she sheds light on her instrumental work and role in decarbonising heavy industry in the ARRRA-cluster (or Antwerp, Rotterdam, Rhine, Rhur Area). Learn why it is crucial for heavy industry to align with international and EU climate targets and explore the significance of the ARRRA cluster in transforming European production of basic materials.

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