01 Oct 2021 About INITIATE

CCU Can Contribute Averting Fertiliser and CO2 Market Shortages

This week, British media reported that the British Government will provide financial support to CF Fertilisers to avert potential shortages of CO2 supply into the market (see here and here).

The emergency bailout was agreed as a result of the decision of the US firm to halt production in its two British sites last week, due to a surge in gas prices.

CF Fertilisers makes CO2 as a byproduct of its main output – fertiliser - and its two plants supply about 60% of the CO2 requirement in the UK to produce fizzy drinks, ensure animal welfare and prolong the shelf life of meat products.

Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) is a perfect example of how such situations can be averted in the future, by transitioning to innovative and defossilised production processes, based on industrial symbiosis.

INITIATE, is a European project bringing together industrial players and research organisations and demonstrating the valorisation of residual gases from the steel production into urea, the most common fertiliser. In our project, steel off-gases are used to produce ammonia, the CO2 is separated and the two are combined for the production of urea at a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Such a concept, implemented at industrial scales can strongly mitigate the risk of fertiliser and CO2 shortage as a result of natural gas price volatility.

Our consortium believes that CCU should be included in any long-term strategy to stimulate the energy transition, implement more circular approaches and detach economic growth from the use of fossil resources. The CO2-to-chemicals pathways have a strategic role in reducing dependencies on fossil fuels both as carbon feedstock and as an energy source and in decreasing annual GHG emissions by up to 3.5 Gt CO2-eq in 2030[1].

The INITIATE consortium consists of major steel and chemical industrial players (ArcelorMittal, SSAB, Stamicarbon, NextChem), functional material suppliers (Johnson Matthey, Kisuma Chemicals B.V.), research organisations (TNO, Swerim AB, Politecnico di Milano, Radboud University) and experienced promoters of CCU, circularity and industrial symbiosis topics (CO2 Value Europe).


[1] Kätelhön et al., PNAS, 2019, Ampelli et al., 2015