Climate Change

Three carbon capture projects in Balkans get grants from EU’s Innovation Fund

Three carbon capture projects Balkans grants EU Innovation Fund

Photo: Motor Oil


July 14, 2023







July 14, 2023






Oil refiner Motor Oil Hellas, Titan Cement, also from Greece, and Holcim’s subsidiary in Croatia are among 41 companies in the European Union selected for a total of EUR 3.6 billion in grants from the Innovation Fund. All three were competing with their carbon capture projects.

Southeastern European companies are slowly emerging in the decarbonization arena in Europe. Fossil fuel producers and refiners are tapping on subsidies with the aim to position themselves in the future market while the cement sector, which is faced with some of the greatest challenges on the road to climate neutrality, is catching on.

One of the ways, at least in theory, is to sequester carbon dioxide emissions from production and store the greenhouse gas permanently. The European Commission supports the development of carbon capture and storage or CCS technology, which is yet to prove its reliability. Variations include the utilization of some or all of the CO2 for industrial purposes, hence the U in the other acronym, CCUS.

Another two major cement producers are entering the CCS arena in Southeastern Europe

The EU’s executive body has just announced 41 winners from the third call for large-scale clean technology projects that competed for massive grants from the Innovation Fund: EUR 3.6 billion in total. A total of 239 proposals were submitted. Among them are three firms operating in the Balkans.

They all participated with carbon capture projects, in the general category. The remaining segments were industry electrification and hydrogen, clean tech manufacturing, and mid-sized pilots. The winners are obligated to complete a grant agreement preparation process.

Motor Oil to produce e-fuel from hydrogen, captured CO2

Motor Oil Hellas, based in Greece, said it won a whopping EUR 127 million for a project called IRIS – Innovative low caRbon hydrogen and methanol productIon by large Scale carbon capture. The company intends to sequester carbon dioxide from the emissions at its future blue hydrogen production unit in one of its oil refineries.

It revealed that the idea is to make methanol from natural gas for e-fuel. The fossil fuel firm would also use green hydrogen in the process. It is obtained through electrolysis powered by renewable sources. The company would produce 56,000 tons of blue hydrogen per year.

Motor Oil also has a green hydrogen joint venture with Public Power Corp. (PPC) called Hellenic Hydrogen.

Titan Cement is preparing carbon capture, storage system

Titan Cement is another Greek company on the list. IFESTOS is one of the largest carbon capture projects in Europe. The firm plans to produce zero carbon cement and concrete. Furthermore, it intends to create decarbonization synergies with regional industries, the documentation shows.

It would retrofit cement kilns in its Kamari plant near Athens in combination with first- and second-generation Oxyfuel and post-combustion cryogenic capture technologies. The project is expected to avoid 98.5% of the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is intended to be connected to transportation and storage infrastructure. Captured CO2 would be liquified and transported to a permanent storage site in the Mediterranean. Titan said it signed memorandums of understanding with potential partners.

The company plans to produce three million tons of zero carbon cement per year at the site.

Holcim developing CCS chain in Croatia to decarbonize its clinker production

The third beneficiary based in Southeastern Europe is Holcim’s subsidiary in Croatia. The project is called KOdeCO net zero.

The cement producer aims to create the first-of-its-kind end-to-end CCS chain in the country. The CO2 captured in its plant in Koromačno is planned to be directed to the first permanent offshore geological storage in the Mediterranean Sea, the European Commission said.

It would be a large-scale industrial demonstrator of Cryocap technology. The facility is set to capture clinker production flue gas at the top of the preheater. The innovative solution would allow electricity savings of 20%. In addition to circularity of condensate and reduced water consumption, it is envisaged to enable net zero cement production by 2028.

KOdeCO stands for Koromačno-decarbonization-ecology. The company said the project is worth EUR 237 million.

Holcim’s carbon capture endeavor in Belgium and an e-methanol investment in France also won support from the Innovation Fund. The cement giant noted it previously got backing for CCUS projects in Germany and Poland.

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