European Zero Emissions Platform: ‘We are ready to go’

The European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants (ZEP) is a coalition of more than 300 experts from research, industry and NGOs working to implement CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS), as it is a key technology for combating climate change.

At ZEP´s General Assembly in Brussels today, a Strategic Deployment Document entitled “Moving Forward with CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS)” (downloadable to the right) was published.

“ZEP wants to make sure that it will be cheaper to capture and store CO2 than to emit it.  The document we publish today gives recommendations for how Europe can make CCS cost-competitive by 2020,” says Eivind Hoff, director of Bellona Europa.

Crucial for the climate

It is not possible to achieve EU or global CO2 reduction targets without CCS – providing 20 percent of the cuts required in the EU by 2030 and 20 percent of the global cuts required by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The EU is dependent on CCS to get rid of emissions from large sources like coal power plants or the steel and cement industry, says Hoff.

Endorsed by EU

As the EU´s most important advisor on CCS, ZEP has had a large impact on the EU´s policy on CCS.

In 2006 ZEP outlined a strategy for accelerating the market to achieve zero emissions power capability by 2020, and recommended a collaborative programme of technology development for reducing the costs and risks through an integrated network of 10-12 CCS demonstration projects across Europe.

This holistic approach was endorsed by both the European Commission and European Council, and by 2009, two key objectives had already been met – to establish funding for an EU CCS demonstration programme and a regulatory framework for CO2 storage.

Moving forward

Professor Niels Peter Christensen, Co-Chair of the task force Technology in ZEP, is among the many members of ZEP emphasizing that the main CCS challenges in Europe are non-technical, and rather consist of finance, legal, public awareness.

“Technology is not the challenge. We are ready to go!” said Christensen

Today 16 pilot projects for CCS already are operational in Europe. According to IEA there should be 100 full-scale commercial CCS plants worldwide by 2020.


In order for CCS to become commercially viable by 2020, industry needs both a strong regulatory framework and financial support. One of the potential solutions ZEP presents in the Strategic Deployment Document is the “Bonus-malus-system.”

This system is based on setting a CO2 emission “norm” measured in grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour. Power plants emitting above the norm would pay a penalty per kilowatt-hour, and this penalty would be channelled to plants emitting below the norm, which would then gain the equivalent “bonus.”

“This option implies that the value of CO2 emission reductions will be higher than it is within the Emission Trading System. When the transmission of money is large enough, it ensures that power production with CCS is profitable compared to power production without CCS,” says Hoff.

A Bellona Study in 2007 showed it was possible to reduce 33 percent of the world’s emissions by employing CCS.