In ALIGN-CCUS, I am leading Work Package 4, which covers carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) as an element for large-scale energy storage and conversion. My main focus in the last decade has been on emission reduction by enhancing the efficiency of power plants, large-scale energy storage systems and, especially, the demonstration of post-combustion capture. I am confident that climate protection goals can only be achieved by a strong contribution from CCUS and its application in all economic sectors. With an increasing share of intermittent renewable energies, the intelligent balancing of power supply and consumption and the coupling of energy and material flows between sectors will become more and more important.
Large-scale, long-term energy storage will become a prerequisite to guarantee security of supply in a world without fossil fuels. This offers an opportunity for CCU, and we will be demonstrating a full CCU chain and the utilisation of CCU products in the power and transport sector. The unique and holistic approach of ALIGN-CCUS comprises not just the demonstration and optimisation of CCU technology but also an investigation of CCU-chain benefits and its socio-economic and environmental value.
It is motivating to work closely in ALIGN-CCUS with competent partners from industries, research institutes and universities with the goal of producing synthetic fuels from nothing other than CO2, water and electric power. And it is fascinating to work jointly on a promising blueprint for sector coupling by CCU that could allow us to substitute fossil fuels, produce platform chemicals with many applications in different economic sectors, stabilise the grid by providing energy storage and peak-load/back-up power generation, and reduce not only CO2 but also SOx, NOx and particulates/soot emissions in the transport sector. The demonstration of CCUS is very important not only to thoroughly investigate the technology under “real-world conditions” but also to increase public awareness, knowledge and acceptance of CCU as a climate protection measure.