CO2 as a building material for a Circular Economy

The reduction of CO2 emissions is a crucial element of the approach to the climate problem. Apart from reducing emissions, it is also possible to work on the storage and utilisation of CO2 – it is, after all, a valuable resource in the circular economy.

Relevance to the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area

The west of the Netherlands has the potential to capture millions of tons of pure CO2 from processes in power generation and industry at plants such as Tata Steel, and waste processing and petrochemical companies. The existing infrastructure in the ground already transports and has capacity to hold 1 million 0.4 megatons of CO2 per year, with a growth potential of 8 million tons per year.

With storage in gas and oil fields beneath the North Sea, it is relatively simple and cost-efficient to expand this infrastructure and improve the connection between supply and demand. The advantages are a reduction in natural gas consumption in the short term, and the supply of CO2 as a resource in the circular economy in the long term.

This creates the crucial conditions for developing our port complexes into biobased hubs and circular hotspots. And the start is already in place: a pipeline between our two largest ports already distributes CO2, which is used on a large scale as a growth enhancer in greenhouse horticulture. And much more is possible! The applications of pure CO2 in production processes, for example for biochemistry, advanced fuels and building materials, are under rapid development and are delivering a major impulse for employment, technological development and export potential.

CO2 Smart Grid

The CO2 Smart Grid is an extensive CO2 network of suppliers and purchasers. It enables reaching these reduction aims in a cost-efficient way, focusing on the development of an innovative investment strategy that creates business from sustainability. This business consists of conducting research on CO2 applications, developing a market for them and attracting industry. The CO2 Smart Grid has led to the establishment of the Carbon Club business community.

Watch the video (in Dutch) on how the Board is working with AkzoNobel, Tata Steel, the Ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam and the partners from CO2 Smart Grid to find a realistic alternative to fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions between now and 2050.

Listen to the podcast (in Dutch) of the ‘CO2: resource of the future’ symposium by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) on 9 April 2018, in which contributors including Marjolein Brasz talk about the CO2 Smart Grid.

Importance of the Board’s work

Many companies that are members of the Board face the challenge of reducing their CO2 emissions over the coming decades as a result of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. Government and civil society partners face the same task. In addition, the Amsterdam Area aims to be an innovative, future-oriented region. The Board has been working with its partners on the CO2 Smart Grid since its creation.

Milestones in 2018

  • Feasibility study completed in collaboration with 21 other partners, positioning the Amsterdam Area as a hub for Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) valorisation; according to research organisations including CE Delft, Ecofys and TNW, there are green lights from a technical, societal and economic perspective, and further steps can now be taken.
  • Contribution to a Dutch CCU community, which helps the Board in liaising with other parties and regions, lobbying central government and promoting the possibilities our region offers.

By 2025, the Amsterdam Area will be the international hub for research into the application of CO2 as a resource in the circular economy. Nationally, by 2030 we aim to be utilising at least eight million tons of CO2 a year (5% of current total emissions).

Go back to the Circular Economy page