Germany proposes legal framework for carbon capture and storage

14 July 2010 17:46  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany on Wednesday proposed a legal framework for the development of carbon capture and storage projects in the country.

A number of chemical firms, including BASF and Linde of Germany, and Air Products in the US, are interested in carbon capture and storage technologies.

The proposal, by German Economics Minister Rainer Bruderle and Environment Minister Norbert Rottgen, comes as planned projects in Germany for carbon capture and storage have run into resistance from affected residents. 

Under the proposal, only test and demonstration projects would be permitted, for the time being.

In 2017, the government would assess progress in carbon capture and storage and report to parliament, the ministers said. If the report findings were “positive,” the use of carbon capture and storage technology would be expanded, they said.

Carbon capture and storage was a key technology because global electricity production would continue to depend on coal as its main feedstock for decades, the ministers said.

At the same time, carbon capture and storage was a potential solution for chemical, steel and other industrial plants with carbon dioxide emissions, they said.

The draft proposal was aimed at setting a reliable legal framework for investments in carbon capture and storage technologies, they said.

“This [proposal] is an important contribution towards better climate protection in Germany’s industrial economy. We will proceed in steps, and will take any concerns of residents very seriously,” said Rottgen.

The draft stipulates limits on the capacity of carbon storage projects that would be permitted. It also requires project proponents to set up reserves to cover potential long-term risks, and it lays down protections for affected property owners and communities.

The draft would now be discussed within chancellor Merkel’s collation government between the Christian Democrats and the pro-business Liberals party, the ministers said. Germany’s states and industrial associations would participate in the discussions, they said.

The ministers said they expected a law on carbon capture and storage, based on their proposal, to be passed by the end of the year. An attempt by Merkel’s former coalition government with the Social Democrats to pass carbon capture and storage legislation failed last year.

A citizens’ group opposed to carbon capture and storage projects in Germany’s eastern Brandenburg state – called "CO2 Endlager stoppen" – said that despite the proposed law’s provisions, carbon capture and storage remained “the largest experiment ever planned in Germany, with dangers for people, environment and water supply.”

Germany’s powerful environmental pressure group, BUND, said carbon capture and storage technology remained risky and would not contribute to sustainable climate protection.

The group said that carbon capture and storage was just a “front” to justify continued investment in harmful coal-based electricity production.

“[Carbon capture and storage] is not part of a sustainable energy policy, and the government needs to recognise this,” the group said in a response to the ministries’ proposal.

For more on BASF, Linde and other producers, visit ICIS company intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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