The EU Commission Launches a New Directive for CO2 Storage

Aquifer storage and CO2 used for EOR

Publish date: January 23, 2008

A proposal for a Directive on CO2 storage is launched by the EU commission today. This Directive will play an important role for ensuring wide deployment of CO2 capture and storage in Europe.

The lack of regulations for CO2 storage has for a long time been regarded as one of the main barriers for deployment of CO2 capture and storage (CCS) in Europe. This barrier will now be removed by the new directive from the EU commission on CO2 storage.

The new Directive will ensure safe storage of CO2

The aim of the new Directive is to ensure that CCS can be an important tool in the European strategy for reducing its CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the directive will ensure that CO2 storage is performed safely without leakages.

One of the main messages in the Directive is the requirement that each member state in the EU establishes a national body, or competent authority as it says in the directive, that will be responsible for issuing CO2 storage permits. Such permits will only be given to projects that can document that the storage site selection has been performed according to the criteria defined in the new Directive. This will ensure that storage only occurs in safe locations. In addition, permits will only be given when a monitoring plan is established that meets the conditions defined in the Directive. As such, the Directive will ensure that storage projects are carried out without leakages.

– This Directive will establish standards and methods to ensure safe storage of CO2, says Dr. Aage Stangeland, Adviser in the Energy Department of the Bellona Foundation.

CO2 storage is becoming legal

The Bellona Foundation has worked hard for years to ensure wide CCS deployment. One of the most important projects has been participation in the so-called European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants (ZEP). Over two hundred experts from all over Europe are members of this Platform, whose mandate is to provide recommendations to the EU commission on how CCS can be deployed. The new Directive is to a large extent based on the technical and juridical recommendations from ZEP.

– This new Directive is a very important tool in the process of making CO2 storage legal, Dr. Stangeland points out.

– Until recently it was illegal to inject CO2 underground, but several international conventions have been revised in recent years to allow for CO2 storage. The new Directive is the final step in making CO2 storage legal.

The required level of purity of CO2 in the injected stream has been heavily debated the last few years. The main fear is that waste could be injected together with the CO2, just to get rid of the waste. This issue is now resolved as the new Directive states that the stream to be injected shall consist of overwhelmingly CO2. As such, injection of waste together with the CO2 is illegal.

Bellona will continue its work on CCS

The proposed Directive has to be approved by the EU Council and the EU Parliament before it can be adapted as a part of EU regulations. The Directive will have a positive effect on European and global strategies for deployment of CCS, and it is therefore very important that the Directive is approved by all the official bodies in the EU.

– The Bellona Foundation will continue its work on CCS to make sure that the Directive becomes approved, ensures Aage Stangeland.