Regional cooperation is essential to facilitate carbon capture and storage (CCS) deployment in central and eastern European (CEE) countries, new research concludes. Cross-border industrial clusters could lower the costs and financial risks of CCS projects, argues a report from the Building Momentum for the Long-term CCS Deployment in the CEE Region project (CCS4CEE) project.

Funded by CCS leader Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the research covers the traditionally climate action-resistant Visegrád group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary), Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, the Baltic states and Ukraine. It aims to ignite the discussion on CCS in the eastern part of Europe.

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A bust of founder Alexei Alchevsky at Alchevsk Iron and Steel Works in the Lugansk region of Ukraine, November 2021. (Photo by Alexander Reka\TASS via Getty Images)

CCS could prove even more important for the eastern part of Europe than the West. This is because industry is a vital part of economies in the region, with all countries – except Latvia – showing a contribution of industry to gross value added higher than the EU average. In addition, the contribution of process emissions from industries like cement and chemicals is often higher than the EU average. Lastly, CEE countries are significantly more dependent on fossil fuels.

In terms of common challenges, the CCS4CEE report identifies “insufficient public awareness of CCS/CCU technology, lack of CO2 transport infrastructure, insufficient political will and lack of interest from the representatives of public administration […and] high cost of CCS/CCU technology”.

It argues that CEE countries are well poised to address these barriers and the challenge of decarbonisation by sharing knowledge, technology transfer and cross-border projects. Coordination could be promoted through EU Projects of Common Interest, which benefit from regulatory fast-tracking and are eligible for EU funds, and regional fora such as the Visegrád group, the Three Seas Initiative and the Baltic Sea Region Energy Cooperation.