Directive 2009/31/EC of the European Parliament on the geological storage of carbon dioxide, entered into force on June 25th 2009. By the end 2013 the CCS Directive has been fully transposed into national law to the satisfaction of the EC in 20 out of 28 EU Member States, while six EU countries (Austria, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Sweden and Slovenia) had to complete transposing measures. In July 2014 the European Commission closed infringement procedures against Cyprus, Hungary and Ireland, which have notified the EC that they have taken measures to incorporate the CCS Directive into national law. Among other three countries Sweden has updated its legislation and published a new law in their country in March 2014, permitting CO2 storage offshore. The evaluation of the national laws in Poland, which were accepted at national level in November 2013, and Croatia, which entered the EU on 7 July 2013 and simultaneously transposed the CCS directive, is still ongoing in 2014. The first storage permit under the Directive (for the ROAD Project in the offshore Netherlands) has been approved by the EC.
While CO2 storage is permitted in a number of European countries, temporary restrictions were applied in Czech Republic, Denmark and Poland. CO2 storage is prohibited except for research and development in Estonia, Finland, Luxembourg, two regions in Belgium and Slovenia due to their geological conditions, but also forbidden in Austraia, Ireland and Latvia. The size of exploration areas for CO2 storage sites is limited in Bulgaria and Hungary. In Germany, only limited CO2 storage will be permitted until 2018 (up to 4 Mt CO2 annually).
Several challenges still remain for the large-scale implementation of CCS projects in Europe. These include high investment costs and lack of public and consequently political support for onshore storage (particularly in Denmark, Germany, and The Netherlands). An European atlas matching all storage sites and capacities is still required. Among six projects supported by European Energy Programme for Recovery only Spanish project Compostilla was active and only UK submitted their application for CCS project to the NER300 second call in 2013 receiving support in 2014.
The most active countries in pilot and demonstration projects research and development activities in Europe were Norway and the largest CO2 emitters in EU (Germany, UK, Italy, France, Spain and The Netherlands). The most promising driving force for CCS implementation is to combine it with CO2 use, including EOR-CCS, mineral carbonation options and geothermal-CCS, which will cause more trust among Green NGOs and general public. Research on CCUS has started in many countries, including Geothermal-CCS project in France, Norway and Germany.