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Germany backs Norwegian plan to capture carbon from cement

Germany backs Norwegian plan to capture carbon from cement

Germany's economy minister Robert Habeck threw his weight behind a Norwegian project to capture carbon emissions and re-use them being carried out by multinational HeidelbergMaterials (HEIG.DE).
Habeck's visit to the Norcem cement plant in Brevik, Norway, represents a shift in German policy back towards efforts to deal with planet-warming emissions by capturing them and making use (CCSU) of them in industrial processes.

Projects have repeatedly stalled on issues of cost and environmental opposition as campaigners have been concerned carbon capture and storage can serve to prolong the use of fossil fuels.

The mood has changed in Germany as the problem of climate change has become more urgent and the focus has shifted to dealing with the emissions that are hardest to avoid at the same time as accelerating the use of renewable energy.

As cement-making inevitably emits carbon, its capture is necessary to mitigate pollution, and the Norwegian plant is meant to serve as a global blueprint, eventually capturing 400,000 tonnes of CO2 - half its emissions - per year.

Norway is providing 85% of the 400 million euro ($424.08 million) cost for Heidelberg subsidiary Norcem to set up a carbon capture facility that should allow storage of carbon dioxide under the seabed near the Brevik site in about two years' time.

"CCUS is the key technology to decarbonise our product and eventually our sector," HeidelbergMaterials chief executive Dominik von Achten said in a statement.

Globally, HeidelbergMaterials is investing 1.5 billion euros in CCUS technology up to 2030.

The cement manufacturer last year rebranded itself and adapted its former name, HeidelbergCement, to reflect a broader strategic focus on sustainability and digital solutions.

Germany aims to cut 65% of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 compared with 1990 and to become carbon-neutral by 2045.

During Habeck's visit, Norwegian state-controlled oil firm Equinor (EQNR.OL) and German utility RWE said separately they planned to develop a supply chain for low-carbon hydrogen.

($1 = 0.9496 euros)($1 = 0.9432 euros)

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