01 September 2023
The application of the principle of technology neutrality to the decarbonisation process undertaken by the European Union and Italy is a fundamental condition for reaching the decarbonisation targets. Carbon Capture Storage represents an indispensable solution to reduce emissions from Hard to Abate industries, thus safeguarding the survival and competitiveness of important economic sectors. It is therefore crucial that Italy defines and implements a vision that, through CCS, combines environmental, social, and industrial policy sustainability objectives.
This is what emerges from the Strategic Study "Carbon Capture and Storage: a strategic lever for decarbonisation and industrial competitiveness", carried out by The European House - Ambrosetti in collaboration with Eni and Snam, which was unveiled today at the 49th Forum of The European House - Ambrosetti, at a press conference attended by Valerio De Molli, Managing Partner and CEO of The European House - Ambrosetti, Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni, Stefano Venier, CEO of Snam and Markus Kerber, Chief Strategist, Christian Democratic Union, former President of the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie as well as Advisor to the Study.
It is now clear that decarbonisation will be the challenge of our century. Globally, there are major difficulties in achieving the goal of the Paris and Glasgow Agreements to limit global warming to below 1.5° C, compared to pre-industrial levels, and as highlighted by the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), decisive and rapid global action is needed to achieve this goal.
Against this backdrop, the European Union has set new and more challenging decarbonisation targets, and Hard to Abate industries must succeed in maintaining their competitiveness, even in the face of the revision of the Emission Trading System (ETS).
Among the various technological solutions available to meet the decarbonisation targets of the Hard to Abate sectors, CCS is the only one that combines maturity, safety and affordability. Moreover, it is the only viable option to reduce the process emissions of the Hard to Abate/energy intensive sectors and concretely accelerate the full decarbonisation of the industry. At an aggregate level, the Hard to Abate sectors generate 94 billion Euros in Value Added and 1.25 million jobs in Italy and emit 63.7 million tonnes of CO2, of which 22% from process. The European House - Ambrosetti estimates that electrification, energy efficiency, bioenergy, hydrogen, and raw material change could, used together, contribute to a reduction of no more than 52% of these emissions. Decarbonising the remaining 48%, or 30.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year, will require CCS solutions.
According to the theoretical model developed by The European House - Ambrosetti, it will be possible to store about 300 million tonnes of CO2 by 2050, equal to about four times the annual emissions of the Lombardy Region, by leveraging the construction of the Ravenna Hub, which has an estimated total capacity of over 500 million tonnes. Once fully operational in the middle of the next decade, this project will allow the transport and storage of about 16 million tonnes of CO2 emitted and sequestered annually from Hard to Abate sectors.
The key role of the Ravenna Hub is evident, but it will be necessary to increase the volumes of CO2 injection until the overall available storage capacity is saturated, and to develop further CCS initiatives to decarbonise the remaining share of emissions that could not otherwise be abated (estimated at 14.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year). Such initiatives could help maintain the competitiveness of additional sectors capable of generating 57.7 billion Euros in Value Added with 1.19 million jobs between direct, indirect, and induced impacts.
The Ravenna CCS Hub project represents a unique opportunity for the country-system to focus on to position Italy as a reference country for CCS in Southern Europe. Italy can play a central role in defining a competitive framework capable of attracting investments and facilitating the start-up of projects, positioning itself as the main point of reference for the development of CCS in Southern Europe, including innovative and research strands such as applications for carbon dioxide utilisation (CCU) and CO2 capture in bio-energy production.
To enable the full development of CCS, according to a technology-neutral principle, and to generate the related economic and social benefits, it is necessary to identify and promote coherent regulatory schemes capable of reconciling decarbonisation, economic competitiveness and employment aspects through integrated planning and support mechanisms for de-risking throughout the supply chain.
Some areas of intervention
- creating the so-called 'soft infrastructure', i.e., a clear and stable regulatory framework needed to facilitate the full development of CCS that provides investment certainty
- applying CCS to different forms of emissions. The deployment of CCS solutions will be able to accompany the decarbonisation pathway of Hard to Abate industries, in synergy with other solutions and according to a principle of technological neutrality and complementarity between the different options available
- doing strategic planning, as the development and deployment of CCS solutions will have to be facilitated by the definition of a clear political vision, shared strategic planning and a roadmap for development at national level
- reducing the financial risks associated with CCS projects along the entire supply chain
Update: November 2023
On November 29, 2023 the study was presented in Rome, in the presence of the CEOs of Eni and Snam. The role and potential impact of CO2 capture technologies for the decarbonisation of the different industrial sectors and the entire economic system were analysed, Government priorities for decarbonisation and competitiveness of industries where it is more complex to reduce emissions (so-called #HardtoAbate) were discussed, and we illustrated the results of the engagement efforts carried out by the parliamentary Commissions in order to support a competitive decarbonisation of the industrial systems, and the opportunities for Italy in Europe and the Mediterranean with the case study of the CCS Hub in Ravenna.
Download the Executive Summary (in English)