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Greentech: Habeck sees great potential in CO2 storage and capturing

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Greentech: Habeck sees great potential in CO2 storage and capturing

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck sees great potential in storing CO2 under the North Sea. “It is better to have CO2 in the ground than in the atmosphere,” said the Green politician on Tuesday at an event at the Hanover Trade Fair. That’s why Germany is now also relying on the long-controversial technology. “There are good reasons for this change, and I think the country will follow suit.” The technology behind it is called “Carbon Capture and Storage,” or CCS for short. The technology, in which CO2 is captured and then stored underground, has long been controversial in Germany. Previous attempts to use them in coal-fired power plants failed due to popular resistance. There has now been a change of opinion in the federal government. «We were skeptical about CCS. But we have overcome that,” said the Vice Chancellor. A new law should now allow its use in Germany. According to Habeck, a decision is expected in May.

Norway wants to become a CO2 storage facility

Norway in particular is an ideal location for storing CO2 from Germany. CO2 has been stored there under the seabed since 1996. The technology is tried and tested and safe, said Norway’s Energy Minister Terje Aasland. “We have proven that.” And the storage capacity there would be enough for 80 billion tons of CO2. “That corresponds to around 1,600 years of Norwegian CO2 emissions at today’s level.” They now want to make this available to other European countries and especially Germany. A first pipeline through the North Sea that will bring CO2 from Germany to Norway is planned.

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Thanks to the experience in Norway, we now know that the technology is safe, said Habeck. “It doesn’t evaporate through the soil or perhaps spoil the water,” said the minister. “We now know for sure that that won’t happen.” Therefore, they want to use the technology in Germany in the future in order to reduce CO2 emissions. “We know that there are some areas of industry that are difficult to decarbonize,” said Habeck. For example the cement industry. This is where CCS can help. «Should we wait another 20 years and not give an answer? We have to use the technology that is available.”

Robert Habeck / press photo Nadine Stegemann

Greentech CO2 storage: No CO2 storage on land

According to initial key points, the planned law will initially only allow the storage of CO2 under the seabed. Storage on land, for example in former gas and oil deposits, should remain ruled out for the time being. The process is intended to be used in industries that, as things currently stand, would be difficult or impossible to become climate neutral.

But the so-called CCS technology should also be permitted for energy production in gas power plants, which environmentalists strongly criticize. This endangers the exit from fossil fuels, they warn. The Federal Environment Agency also sees the enormous additional energy required for capturing and storing CO2 as problematic.

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