There is no shortage of CCS projects being planned in Europe but how much concrete is actually being poured? Despite all the announcements it's difficult to know when paper projects have gained substance.
The taking of a Final Investment Decision (FID) means that a firm commitment has been made, that major equipment orders are to be placed and construction can get underway.
But it's not always easy to determine when a FID has been taken. In fact, the only ones within the EU known to CCS Europe until this week were Denmark's full-chain carbon capture Kalundborg Hub project and the Porthos transport and storage project in the Netherlands.
Given that to meet net-zero goals hundreds of similar projects must be developed within the next couple of decades this is hardly impressive.
Heidelberg Materials announced last month that a CCS project at the Geseke cement plant in Germany would be "officially launched" on 1 January 2024, having secured €191m from the EU Innovation Fund. Heidelberg are leaders in promoting CCS and developing low-carbon cement (think of the Brevik plant in Norway) so this sounded like a 100% development commitment, but CCS Europe hears that a FID is unlikely to be taken before 2026.
However, Air Products announced in November that "it will build" a carbon capture facility at its existing hydrogen production plant in Rotterdam and connect this to the Porthos system. Does this mean that a FID has been taken? "YES", says Lucie Boost, the company's head of European Affairs.
So that's some real progress, although the number of CCS FIDs taken so far is still in the low single digits.