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ELEGANCY – Enabling a Low-Carbon Economy via Hydrogen and CCS

ELEGANCY – Enabling a Low-Carbon Economy via Hydrogen and CCS

Published 08 September 2017

As the only technology that can substantially reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, CCS is an essential component in 114 of 120 scenarios with 0.9–2.3°C global warming above pre-industrial levels in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

ELEGANCY is an ERA-Net Cofund ACT project starting up in September 2017. 

Indeed, without CCS, it will be extremely difficult to keep the rise in global temperature within the limits set by the Paris Agreement. CCS is also the only means of achieving deep emissions cuts in industries such as steel, cement and petrochemical. Yet there is a large disconnect between policy ambitions and technology readiness – and industrial uptake. This is mainly due to the lack of a business model: costs are immediate, but the benefits are long term. Similarly, the introduction of hydrogen (H2) as a low-carbon fuel for heating, cooling, transport and industrial processes has been slower than desired. However, as the natural gas (NG) reforming for H2 production also produces CO2 using existing or new processes, this can provide the economic driver needed to fast-track CCS commercial deployment.

The ELEGANCY project will therefore provide three crucial benefits:

  1. The decarbonization of power, heating and transport based on an existing fuel and infrastructure
  2. A commercial model for industrial CCS and
  3. The opportunity to broaden public awareness of CCS.

This includes large-scale CO2 transport and storage infrastructure for use by other sectors, as well as infrastructure for the rapid introduction of H2 as an energy carrier, thus also opening the door for H2 generated from spare capacity in renewable sources. It will also enable Europe to export extensive knowledge, products and technologies worldwide.

Building on the ground-breaking findings of the DYNAMIS project, ELEGANCY R&D will provide innovative, cutting edge solutions to key technical challenges for H2-CCS chains (See the figure) – on both a systems and component level. This includes CO2 transport, injection and storage, as well as H2-CO2 separation – directly increasing the TRL of selected components to 5 where large-scale demonstration is possible. It will take the most up-to-date experimental data and advance it using world-class research infrastructure, such as ECCSEL and EPOS facilities. To enable application of this research, ELEGANCY will also develop an innovative, open-source design tool for a fully integrated H2-CCS chain. Finally, taking a fully integrated approach, the project will study business development opportunities, public perceptions of CCS and any environmental aspects of H2-CCS chains. The goal: to fast-track European CCS in the 2020s.

ELEGANCY will then apply all its research findings, technologies and tools to five national case studies in order to identify cost-effective opportunities for H2-CCS for each country represented in the consortium. This includes:

  • The Netherlands: decarbonizing industry by specifying a comprehensive H2-CCUS value chain.
  • Switzerland: decarbonizing road transport, accelerating its CCS/geothermal roadmap and studying carbon-negative solutions, which can provide vital headroom in the transition to a low carbon economy.
  • The UK: switching large cities to a 100% H2 network, building on the Leeds City Gate H21 project.
  • Germany: accelerating the decarbonization of gas infrastructure via a H2-CCS chain – either a pure H2 distribution network, or by mixing H2 into the existing natural gas network.
  • Norway: developing an optimal infrastructure investment scenario for H2 export and utilization.

In short, H2-CCS is a truly flexible strategy for accelerating CCS deployment, easily adaptable to the infrastructural, social, economic and political constraints of European nations.

ELEGANCY partners are world leaders in their respective fields, comprising not only highly-respected research institutions and legal experts, but technology vendors, natural gas grid operators and international energy and petrochemical companies. Industry partners will play a key role in the implementation of the project: research findings will be appraised by INEOS, Open Grid Europe and Gassco for their potential and relevance; Climeworks, Uniper Energy Storage, and Aker Solutions will develop and evaluate technologies; and GERG and Scottish Enterprise will enhance the dissemination of key results.

Scientific, technological and commercial objectives and challenges
Decisions on full-scale CCS deployment need to be made as a matter of urgency in order for Europe to achieve the steep build-out required to deliver on the Paris Agreement – and avoid irreversible climate change. ELEGANCY is designed specifically to provide the knowledge needed to make such decisions on an informed basis.

Primary objective:
Fast-track the decarbonization of Europe's energy system by exploiting the synergies between two key low-carbon technologies: CCS and H2. To this end, ELEGANCY will:

  • Develop and demonstrate effective CCS technologies with high industrial relevance.
  • Identify and promote business opportunities for industrial CCS enabled by H2 as a key energy carrier by performing five national case studies.
  • Validate key elements of the CCS chain by frontier pilot- and laboratory-scale experiments using inter alia ECCSEL and EPOS research infrastructure.
  • Optimize combined systems for H2 production and H2-CO2 separation by combining basic science with the technology developments necessary for increased TRL of these systems.
  • De-risk storage of CO2 produced from NG reforming for H2 production by providing experimental data and validated models.
  • Enable safe, cost-efficient design and operation of key elements of the CCS chain by developing cutting edge, innovative design and simulation tools.
  • Provide an open source techno-economic design and operation simulation tool for the full CCS chain, including H2 as energy carrier.
  • Assess societal support of key elements of CCS, enabling early identification and mitigation of risks.


Research Institutions:
• SINTEF Energy Research
• British Geological Survey
• Paul Scherrer Institute
• Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands
• Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research
• Swerea MEFOS
• Imperial College London
• ETH Zürich
• Ruhr-University Bochum
• Utrecht University

• Aker Solutions
• Gassco AS
• Statoil Petroleum AS
• INEOS Chemicals Grangemouth Limited
• Climeworks AG
• Open Grid Europe
• Uniper Energy Storage
• Groupe Européen de Recherches Gazières
• Scottish Enterprise
• Sustainable Decisions Ltd
• First Climate AG

ACT ELEGANCY, Project No 271498, has received funding from DETEC (CH), FZJ/PtJ (DE), RVO (NL), Gassnova (NO), BEIS (UK), Gassco AS and Statoil Petroleum AS, and is cofunded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme, ACT Grant Agreement No 691712.

Project duration

2017 - 2020