ZDS: German seaports are well-positioned to be carbon management hubs
German seaports believe they are well-positioned to be used as hubs for carbon management as part of the energy transition and a CO2 circular economy. However, they demand ‘a clear commitment’ from the federal government.
The Association of German Seaport Operators (ZDS) describes these requirements in its new position paper “Seaports in the energy transition:CCU and CCS”. The paper points out that “the future carbon management strategy of the federal government needs to adequately recognize the role of seaports as CO2 hubs”.
As energy and chemical clusters, many seaports are seen as suitable locations for intensifying cooperation between companies to reduce CO2. Port areas offer technical and economic requirements for the development of CO2 infrastructures for future carbon capture utilization & storage (CCU/CCS) applications as important building blocks in the transition to carbon-neutral seaports.
German seaports have always been hubs for energy sources and link ship, rail and road transport for many types of globally traded goods. For seaport operations, the handling, storage and distribution of not only hydrogen and its derivatives but also of liquefied CO2 in the future can represent new and innovative business areas as part of technological developments, according to ZDS.
Within the context of meeting climate targets, carbon management is becoming increasingly important in addition to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A clear and sustainable commitment from the federal government, a CO2 infrastructure plan and incentive structures for a CO2 circular economy are three major measures that German seaport companies consider necessary for climate protection through carbon management.
CO2 can be separated and stored through chemical processes from emissions that for example arise in industrial production. In addition, the captured CO2 can be reused, for example to produce synthetic fuels.
Overall, these processes – CCU and CCS – reduce the amount of CO2 that enters the atmosphere and harms the climate.
Together with the affected process industry, opportunities are opening up for seaport companies to set up CO2 liquefaction plants, interim storage facilities and CO2 handling facilities for cross-border transport, both by sea and, in some cases, by pipeline.
ZDF further stressed in the paper that depreciation options, climate protection contracts (carbon contracts for difference – CCfD) and compatible public funding frameworks are required in order to offset the significant operating and investment costs for piloting cross-border CO2 transport, handling, and storage infrastructures in German seaports.
The paper touches upon the recently published industrial strategy of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK), which advocates the use of CCU/CCS as a viable way to capture and store carbon dioxide.