ROAD project to be cancelled, CCS to continue

Uniper and Engie recently announced their intention to cancel ROAD, the demonstration project focusing on the capture of CO₂ at one of the coal-fired plants in Rotterdam and its storage in an empty gas field in the North Sea seabed.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is very disappointed with Uniper and Engie’s announcement of their plans to terminate the ROAD project.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of the key means through which coal-fired plants can reduce their CO₂ emissions. The companies have failed to meet the expectations they had created with regard to a large-scale CCS pilot project.

In the view of the Port Authority, there’s no reason why the coal-fired plants should not remain open for a long time, provided they limit the negative environmental impact of their CO₂ emissions by redirecting their residual heat (mainly for re-use in industry), by implementing CCS and/or by co-firing with biomass or lignin (a residual product from bio-based industry). After all, the Paris Agreement on climate change requires signatories to structurally reduce their CO₂ emissions. Companies cannot afford to ignore this requirement.

Both internationally and in the Netherlands’ national Energy Agenda, CCS is viewed as an important instrument for cutting back the volume of CO₂ released into the atmosphere. At present, petroleum refineries and the chemical industry are two sectors faced with a particular shortage of renewable or circular alternatives. The capture and storage of CO₂ presents these sectors, which are important both in economic and social terms, with opportunities to reduce their CO₂ emissions.

That is why the Port of Rotterdam Authority and a number of other parties are jointly examining which options they have to realise a basic infrastructure in Rotterdam’s port areas for the collection and transport of CO₂ and its subsequent storage in (empty) gas fields in the North Sea seabed. Realising this loop pipeline (or ‘backbone’) and the associated storage infrastructure as a ‘collective facility’ will create significant economies of scale.

The partners aim to take the decision regarding the next step by late 2017/early 2018. The parties are presently in talks with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs about this concept. They are also in talks with the European Commission.

Energy in transition

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is committed to combating climate change and wants to play a leading role in the global energy transition. The reduction of CO₂ emissions and efficient use of raw and residual materials are important tasks for the Port Authority.

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