On 13 September 2023, a full-day regional conference was held in the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade to conclude the CCS4CEE project, which started at the end of 2020 and is running until the end of 2023. The rich event programme attracted a total of over 130 participants, over half of whom attended in person. The project will officially be concluded in December 2023.
The speakers who took the floor during the conference represented governments, industry, research organisations and civil society. At the beginning, Vladimír Bartovic, President of EUROPEUM, our project partner leading the organisation of the event presented the CCS4CEE project, including its timeline and outputs. Tomáš Smejkal, Head of Strategy Department at the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade, who has been responsible for preparing the Czech NECP, shared their perspective on the role of CCS in the country’s long-term decarbonisation strategy. H.E. Mr Victor Conrad Rønneberg, Norwegian Ambassador to the Czech Republic, then presented the official statement of Norway on the issue of CCS. “We believe CCS is peaceful and safe”, he said. Noah Deich, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Carbon Management in the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) at the U.S. Department of Energy, emphasized that his department has been investing in research for the past 20 years and the United States is currently in the process of implementing its first commercial projects. Nora Mehsen, Sector Officer and Programme Manager at EEA and Norway Grants said that no sector and no region should be left behind in the green transition, and for this reason they invest in CCS.
The panel discussion “Policy for CCS deployment in CEE”, moderated by Marko Maver, Secretary in the Cabinet of the Minister for the Environment and Spatial Planning of Slovenia, was attended by Katrine Haukenes, Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Tomáš Smejkal, and Lidija Božić, Head of Production Department at Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency. Each of the panellists summarised how the development of CCS is supported in their respective countries as well as the further developments needed to deploy the technologies rapidly and at scale.
Hanna Biro, Policy Advisor at Bellona Europa, presented the project results, including the geological potential of Central and Eastern European countries, legislative frameworks, public support, stakeholders’ perceptions, and our expert recommendations compiled in our national roadmaps.
Luciana Miu, Head of Clean Economy at Energy Policy Group; Kamil Laskowski, Analyst at WiseEuropa; Valts Ulmanis, Senior Consultant at Civitta, and Michal Hrubý, Economist at the International Sustainable Finance Centre (previously: Europeum) participated in a panel discussion “Findings of the CCS4CEE project”, moderated by Michał Wendołowski, Senior Climate Technology and Policy Manager (CEE) at Bellona Europa. They discussed the project’s major achievements in their respective target countries, which included influencing legislation, stakeholder engagement, and gathering industry feedback—both positive and negative. They also discussed the challenges faced by the technology in their respective countries and highlighted differences between neighbouring states (Lithuania – Latvia -Estonia; Czech Republic – Slovakia).
In his online keynote speech, Chris Bolesta, CO2 Capture, Use & Storage Policy Lead at DG ENER, summarised three topics currently addressed by the European Commission regarding CCS: estimating CO2 storage potential in Europe, analysing the results of the recent consultation on the EU’s upcoming Industrial Carbon Management Strategy , and organising the CCUS Forum, which will take place in Aalborg, Denmark , 28-29 November 2023.
In the second part of the event, Eirik Falck da Silva, Research Manager at SINTEF, spoke about the CCUS Zen project, which explores the potential for accelerating deployment of CCUS in two regions: the Baltic Sea region and the Mediterranean Sea region. Lee Beck, Senior Director, Europe and Middle East at Clean Air Task Force, spoke about the importance of a Europewide CO2 transport and storage market and finally, Nikolai Andrianov, Senior Advisor at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), presented Project Greensand.
During the fireside chat “Where next for CCS in CEE industry?”, moderated by Michal Hrubý, two speakers took the floor: Vaclav Přibilík, Business Development & Sustainability Director at HeidelbergCement Czechia, and Duncan Leeson, CCUS Process Integration Engineer at HOLCIM. Michal asked about the obstacles and opportunities for collaboration between companies that are in competition with each other.
The next panel, this time dedicated to the public perception and community engagement with CCS, was moderated by Luciana Miu, who is also Co-chair of the CCUS Forum’s WG on Public Perception of CCUS. Her guests were: Sven Alsheimer, Researcher at Fraunhofer Institute, Marc Poumadère, Programme director at Institut Symlog and Katrine Thomsen, Deputy Head of Department at Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy, and Utilities. Katrine Thomsen briefly explained how Denmark reached its current position regarding the acceptance of CCS. Mr Alsheimer listed the universal conditions that must be met for the local community to accept this technology. Luciana asked whom society trusts the most in the countries represented by the panellists. It turns out that while in France and the 5 countries surveyed by the Fraunhofer Institute, researchers and academia and the most trusted actors, in Denmark, the government enjoys an equally high level of trust.
The last part of the conference began with the “Ask me Anything” session, when Luciana Miu talked to Chris Davies, Director of CCS Europe. Afterwards, a session dedicated to specific projects took place, moderated by Valts Ulmanis. On the panel were: Agnieszka Baran, Director of the CCS Programme Office at Orlen S.A., Jana Hamršmídová, Director of the Energy Sector Division at MND, Tomaž Vuk, Chairman of the Board at Salonit Anhovo, and Eglė Jankauskienė, Procurement Manager at Akmenes cementas. In this part, the role of social acceptance was emphasised, and further conditions were identified that must be met for CCS projects to be successful.
The conference revealed that significant progress has been made recently in the development of CCS technology in Europe and worldwide. The CCS4CEE project is coming to an end, but many other projects addressing industrial emissions are being implemented in the region. Thanks to these projects, we are gaining new intelligence and know-how, and the next step will be to disseminate it among all stakeholders in the region.