The Commission signed €1.1 billion of grant agreements, allocated for seven low-carbon technologies which will substantially reduce emissions – within the first ten years.
The seven large-scale projects, funded via the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), are expected to reduce carbon emissions by over 76 Mt of CO2eq in the first ten years. The projects cover a range of environmental innovation, from hydrogen to solar energy, from biofuels to steel.
Essentially, this is an urgent financial transfusion towards the realisation of renewable energy. Events in Ukraine have highlighted this urgency, with the world scrambling to build clean energy infrastructure and step away from oil, gas and coal dependency.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “With the Innovation Fund, the European Commission is granting €1.1 billion to empower innovative, forward-thinking businesses that develop cutting-edge technologies and drive the climate transition in their respective fields.
“This is a smart investment into the decarbonisation and resilience of our economy; it boosts European industry’s position as global leaders in clean tech, creates local jobs, and helps to accelerate our green transition.”
What are the seven low-carbon technologies?
1. Kairos@C, Belgium
The Kairos@C project attempts to create the first cross-border carbon capture and storage value chain, which will permanently store CO2. The company will use several technologies together, to potentially avoid the emission into the atmosphere of 14 Mt of CO2eq. This level of prevention will happen in just the first ten years of operation.
2. BECCS, Sweden
In Sweden, this project will attempt to make a full-scale Bio-Energy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) facility. This will be created at the existing heat and power biomass plant, in Stockholm, to potentially prevent 7.83 Mt of CO2eq emissions – again, during the first decade of operation.
For context, that amount of carbon emission is more than the entire amount of greenhouse gas emissions from public sector electricity and heat production in Sweden in 2018.
3. Hybrit Demonstration, Sweden again
The Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology Demonstration project (Hybrit Demonstration) will attempt to revolutionise the European iron and steel industry. This project will replace fossil-based technologies with climate-neutral alternatives – such as green hydrogen production and use.
The project could prevent the emission of 14.3 Mt of CO2eq over its first ten years of operation. The most interesting part of this project is that it will act as a counterpoint to steel production, creating climate benefits in a difficult sector.
4. Ecoplanta, Spain
This project could deliver a first-of-a-kind commercial plant for the European market, using waste that would otherwise end up in landfills.
The plant will produce 237 kt/y of methanol, and thereby recover 70% of the carbon present in non-recyclable materials. The project will avoid the emission of 3.4 Mt of CO2eq over its first ten years of operation.
5. K6 Program, France
The K6 Program aims to produce the first carbon-neutral cement in Europe, becoming a representative project for the cement industry worldwide.
The project will deploy a first-of-a-kind industrial-scale combination of an airtight kiln and cryogenic carbon capture technology, with CO2 storage in the North Sea site that otherwise would be emitted to the atmosphere. This should prevent 8.1 Mt of CO2eq emissions, within the first ten years.
6. TANGO, Italy
The TANGO project will develop an industrial-scale pilot line for the manufacturing of innovative, high-performance photovoltaic (PV) modules.
Crucially, the TANGO project will reinforce the value chain in the European upstream PV industry.
It will multiply production capacity by 15, up from 200 MW to 3 GW per year. Once in operation, the produced modules will have the potential to avoid up to 25 Mt of CO2eq emissions over the first ten years.
7. SHARC, Finland
The Sustainable Hydrogen and Recovery of Carbon project (SHARC) will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The hope is that it can move away from the production of fossil-fuel based hydrogen.
It will then move towards both renewable hydrogen production (through the introduction of electrolysis) and hydrogen production by applying carbon capture technology, both notorious low-carbon technologies. In the first ten years of operation, the SHARC project will avoid the emission of more than 4 Mt of CO2eq.
Director of European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), Dirk Beckers, said: “CINEA is proud to sign the very first large-scale projects under the Innovation Fund. With these projects, we demonstrate that the clean energy transition is already happening, while substantially reducing the greenhouse gas emissions brings economic opportunities for our project promoters.
“These projects represent highly innovative solutions in their sectors which should pave the way for others to follow.”