The Zero Emissions Platform
Founded in 2005, the European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants (ZEP) is a unique coalition of stakeholders united in their support for CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) as a key technology for combating climate change. ZEP serves as advisor to the European Commission on the research, demonstration and deployment of CCS.
The European utilities, petroleum companies, equipment suppliers, scientists, academics and environmental NGOs that together form ZEP have three main goals:
- Enable CCS as a key technology for combating climate change.
- Make CCS technology commercially viable by 2020 via an EU-backed demonstration programme.
- Accelerate R&D into next-generation CCS technology and its wide deployment post-2020.
ZEP was born out of the EU’s recognition of CCS as a key component of any future sustainable energy system. Its mission: to identify and remove the barriers to creating highly efficient power plants – with near-zero emissions.
The first research initiative on CCS can be found as far back as the EU’s Third Framework Programme (FP3), 1990-1994 – its main financial tool for supporting Research and Development activities for almost all scientific disciplines. Subsequent programmes – which in 2006 became seven-year programmes – have given increasing weight to CCS-related projects.
In the autumn of 2005, the ZEP Advisory Council and Coordination Group – along with four Working Groups and a Mirror Group – were established and ZEP published a Vision Paper the following May. The Working Groups were later renamed Taskforces, while the Mirror Group became the Government Group.
In August 2006, ZEP published two key documents – the Strategic Deployment Document (SDD) and the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). While the SDD outlined how we can accelerate the market for deployment, the SRA described a collaborative programme of technology development for reducing the costs and risks. An updated SDD was published in October 2010, while ZEP’s “Recommendations for research to support the deployment of CCS in Europe beyond 2020” was published in March 2010 and identified key areas for improvement, together with the main strands for R&D to 2030 and beyond.
Together, these documents provided the roadmap necessary to commercialise CCS by 2020, including 10-12 demonstration projects as the next – and final – step. This will ensure the implementation of complete CCS value chains – from the capture of CO2 at large emission sources, its transportation to storage sites, to its storage in geological formations deep underground. This was endorsed by EU Heads of State in March 2007.
In 2008, ZEP then carried out an in-depth study into how such a demonstration programme could work in practice, from every perspective – technological, operational, geographical, political, economic and commercial – backed up by robust R&D activity. It is the most extensive ever undertaken on the subject, anywhere in the world.
The resulting report – “An EU Demonstration Programme on CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) – ZEP’s Proposal” – describes precisely what the Programme should cover; how it could be funded; and what steps must be taken to ensure it is up and running by 2015 in order to commercialise CCS by 2020.
As the EU moves closer towards the deployment of CCS, ZEP will continue to serve as:
- CCS Advisor and Facilitator – expert advice on all technical, policy, commercial and other related issues.
- CCS Technology Contributor – input on all technology issues, including recommendations for next-generation CCS technologies, taking into account experience gained from the EU CCS Demonstration Programme.
- Respected Communicator – educator and source of information, including engaging internationally on CCS.