The so-called CCS technology, in which CO2 emissions are captured and stored underground, is highly controversial. Critics warn of uncontrollable effects on the environment. It is also feared that the urgently needed emission reduction will be postponed because there seems to be an alternative. However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has now also determined that a climate-neutral economy in the near future will not be possible without underground CO2 injection. In particular, exploited oil and gas fields are suitable for underground storage. In Europe, you will find these mainly off the coast of Norway. In fact, the Kingdom has been conducting research in the field of CO2 storage for years and has already made considerable progress. German industry should also benefit from this in the future. Because the German group Wintershall Dea wants to build a nine hundred kilometers long pipeline together with the Norwegian Equinor.
The cost of storage is still unknown
This will lead from the German North Sea coast to the waters off the coast of Norway. When fully developed, up to 40 million tons of CO2 per year could be transported and stored in this way. This corresponds to about one-fifth of the industrial emissions occurring in Germany today. Before the pipeline is put into operation, it must also be possible to ship the separated greenhouse gas to Norway. The two companies have not yet commented on the financial details. But one thing must be clear: purely out of charity, Norway will not register and store Germany’s climate emissions. In the past, however, CO2 storage options were so expensive that it was not attractive to most companies. However, this may change in the future due to rising carbon taxes in many countries. Norway could therefore continue to benefit financially from the former deposits after the end of oil and gas production.
Underground CO2 storage is actually banned in Germany
Theoretically, it would also be possible to store some of Germany’s segregated climate emissions. But in this country, the technology was even banned after sometimes violent citizen protests. This is a fundamental problem of the German energy transition. Because this only works because technologies you don’t want to use in this country are used elsewhere. The federal government is sticking to the nuclear phase-out but imports nuclear energy from neighboring countries. The controversial fracking process for the production of natural gas is not allowed in this country. At the same time, however, the fracking of gas from the United States is preventing the supply of natural gas from collapsing completely. The same pattern now seems to be repeating itself with CCS technology. However, it is questionable whether this is really a successful approach in the long term.