Broad coalition sign agreement to push back CO2 emissions by means of reuse

Goal: reusing eight million tonnes of CO2 within fifteen years

Rotterdam, October 26, 2016 – At the National Climate Summit held in Rotterdam today, a group of over 25 companies, organisations, and government authorities have signed an agreement governing the joint development of programmes to enable drastic reductions of CO2 emissions throughout the Netherlands. The intention is to recapture CO2 emitted by enterprises, and to subsequently reuse it for alternative ends. Examples of such reuse could include industrial processes, raw materials for industry, fertilisers used in horticulture, or algae cultivation. The signatories aim to reuse at least eight million tonnes of CO2 on an annual basis within a fifteen-year time span. This amounts to approximately five percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

The gravity of this agreement in terms of its environmental and economic impact was stressed by the fact that the CO2 Smart Grid will have the greatest impact on CO2 emission reduction of all the projects launched at the climate summit. The agreement was signed by Secretary of State Mrs. Dijksma, responsible for the Department of Infrastructure and the Environment, in the presence of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Smart grid construction

All parties intend to make substantial progress in effecting the agreement. A feasibility study will be conducted at short notice, based upon which authorities and companies can determine their next steps. Efforts will be made to complete all decision-making before 2020 with regard to construction of a so-called smart grid (infrastructure) to enable reuse of such quantities of CO2. Such infrastructure would consist of a pipe network, buffers, and connections interlocking producers and consumers of CO2. Such infrastructure is expected to not only reduce CO2 emissions, but moreover to attract new companies to the Netherlands that employ CO2 as one of their raw materials.

Increasing opportunities for reuse of CO2

Investments in expansion of CO2 supplies to horticulture entrepreneurs may well commence prior to construction of the smart grid. At present, about 500 horticultural firms are purchasing CO2 from refineries operated by Shell and Alco, a producer of bio-ethanol. Pipelines running from both refineries transport this CO2 to greenhouse farms, where it is used to reduce consumption of natural gas. Reduction of natural gas consumption allows these farmers to cut back on their own production of CO2 in turn.

Further examples of companies eligible for CO2 recapture include waste processing energy companies such as AEB in Amsterdam and AVR in Rotterdam, although power plants and other high-energy industries are potential candidates as well, including steel manufacturers, refineries, the chemical industry, and cement works.

Reduction remains a necessity

The plans forwarded by the conglomerate of companies and government bodies by no means signify a diminished need to cut back on CO2 emissions. By all standards, such emissions need to be reduced to dramatic extent if the Netherlands is to achieve its climate goals. Although the smart grid proposed by the organisations involved will ensure that a portion of emissions can be reused or stored (temporarily), it does not offer any permanent solutions to the broader problem. Further initiatives, such as increasing efficiency of energy production and consumption, remain dire necessities nonetheless.

The following partners participate in the CO2 Smart Grid: AEB Amsterdam, Amsterdam Economic Board, AVR Rotterdam, BLOC, Deltalinqs, ECN, Westland Municipality, Greenport Aalsmeer, Greenport Westland-Oostland, Amsterdam Port Authorities, Rotterdam Port Authorities, Linde Gas, LTO Noord Glaskracht, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Noord-Holland Nature and Environment Federation, Zuid-Holland Nature and Environment Federation, OCAP CO2 BV, ORAM, Noord-Holland Provincial Authorities, Zuid-Holland Provincial Authorities, ROAD CCS, Tata Steel, TNO, VNO-NCW West, WarmteKoude Zuid-Holland, and WarmteKoude MRA.

Further information is available at the www.co2smartgrid.nl website.

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