Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the EU Power and Industry Sectors - An assessment of key technologies and measures
Licentiate thesis, 2012
In February 2011, the European Council reconfirmed the goal of reducing EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, as compared to the levels in 1990. The power and industrial sectors currently account for almost half of the total GHG emissions in the EU. The overall objective of the work presented in this thesis is to provide a technology-based perspective on the feasibility of significant reductions in CO2 emissions in the EU power and industrial sectors, with the emphasis on expected turnover in the capital stock of the existing infrastructure. Three sectors of industry are included: petroleum refining; iron and steel production; and cement manufacturing. The analysis is based on a thorough description and characterization of the current industry infrastructure and of the key mitigation technologies and measures in each sector. The analysis comprises investigations of how specific factors, such as the age structure of the capital stock, technology and fuel mix, and spatial distribution of the plant stock, contribute to facilitating or hindering the shift towards less-emission-intensive production processes.
The results presented here are the synthesis of the results described in the following three papers: Paper I investigates the potential for CCS in industrial applications in the EU by considering branch- and plant-specific conditions; Paper II assesses strategies for CO2 abatement in the European petroleum refining industry; and Paper III explores in a scenario analysis the limits for CO2 emission abatement within current production processes in the power and industrial sectors. Together, the three papers provide a comprehensive assessment of the roles of technologies and measures that are commercially available today, as well as those of emerging technologies that are still in their early phases of development.
The results presented in Paper III show that the EU goal for emissions reductions in the sectors covered by the EU ETS, i.e., 21% reduction by 2020 (as compared to Year 2005 levels), is attainable with the abatement measures that are already available. However, despite assumptions regarding moderate (steel and cement) or negative (petroleum products) output growth, an almost complete renewal of the capital stock (with the exception of petroleum refining) and extensive implementation of available abatement measures, the conclusion drawn is that total emissions from the assessed sectors will exceed the targeted levels by more than twofold unless a major breakthrough in low-carbon process technologies materializes within the period up to 2050. The results of Papers I and II illustrate how large-scale implementation of CCS in industrial settings might contribute to significantly reducing CO2 emissions from heavy industries in the EU.
Taken together, these studies highlight the importance of, in parallel with the implementation of measures to meet the short-term (2020) reduction targets, accelerating efforts to develop new zero- or low-carbon technologies and processes that would enable significant reductions in emissions in the long term (2050).