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Carbon dioxide capture and storage

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Carbon dioxide capture and storage

The geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) can prevent and minimise the harmful effects of climate change. This directive establishes rules to ensure this practice is done safely.

ACT

Directive 2009/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and amending Council Directive 85/337/EEC, European Parliament and Council Directives 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2006/12/EC, 2008/1/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006.

SUMMARY

The geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) can prevent and minimise the harmful effects of climate change. This directive establishes rules to ensure this practice is done safely.

WHAT DOES THIS DIRECTIVE DO?

This directive, known as the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Directive, establishes a legal framework that helps tackle climate change through the environmentally safe geological storage of CO2.

KEY POINTS

Geological CO2 storage sites must be environmentally safe. They cannot interfere with any bodies of water (because of potential negative effects of CO2 placed into water-columns) or present any health risks. Determining the suitability of these sites includes a rigorous process of data collection, computer static and dynamic modelling to make a 3D model of the candidate storage complex, sensitivity characterisation by applying various simulations on the 3D model and risk assessments using information gathered from the previous steps.

Permits are required to use geological storage sites. Permit applications, submitted to the competent authority of the EU country at hand, must include information such as the expected security of the storage site, the quantity of CO2 to be injected, the measures to prevent significant irregularities and a proposed monitoring plan. The Commission may issue a non-binding opinion on the draft storage permit to ensure consistency in the implementation of the requirements of the directive across the EU, therefore enhancing public confidence in CCS. Once issued, the competent authority reviews the permit 5 years after issue and every 10 years after that.

No other waste or matter may be added to the CO2 storage sites for the purpose of waste disposal. CO2 monitoring results by site operators must be communicated to the competent authority once every year. Meanwhile, the monitoring plan must be updated by the site operator every 5 years and approved by the competent authority. In case of leakage, immediate action must be taken by the site operator (or by the competent authority if the site operator fails to do so) in line with the corrective measures plan approved by the competent authority as part of the storage permit.

Storage sites are closed if there is a substantiated request and conditions stated in the permit have been met by the site operator or if the competent authority decides to close the site after the withdrawal of the permit. Once closed, the operator remains responsible for the site until the conditions for transfer of responsibility are met (mainly the condition that the CO2 will be completely and permanently stored).

WHEN DOES IT APPLY?

From 25 June 2009. It amended Council Directive 85/337/EEC, European Parliament and Council Directives 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2006/12/EC, 2008/1/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006).

BACKGROUND

This directive is part of the EU’s 2020 climate and energy package, adopted in April 2009.

KEY TERMS

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) refers to the process by which from large sources like power plants, CO2 is captured, compressed and transported to and injected into geological storage sites, which are generally deep underground layers of porous rock capped with impermeable rock, in ways that ensure the CO2 does not leak out into the atmosphere.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2009/31/EC

25.6.2009

25.6.2011

OJ L 140 of 5.6.2009, pp. 114-135

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of Directive 2009/31/EC on the geological storage of carbon dioxide (COM(2014) 99 final of 25.2.2014).

Last updated: 26.03.2015

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