«ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH OF THE FEDERAL MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, NATURE CONSERVATION, BUILDING AND NUCLEAR SAFETY Project No. (FKZ) 3711 11101 ...»
Under current German law, CO2 storage may be governed in some circumstances by mining law and water law, while the transport of the captured CO2 is covered by the legal regime for pipelines according to the Federal Environmental Impact Assessment Act, requesting a plan determination procedure or a plan approval procedure. 421 Thus, CCS is the only technology associated with geoengineering which until now has been explicitely regulated. However, doubts have already been raised whether traditional models such as BATs, environmental impact assessments and liability are sufficient in addressing concerns emanating from CCS. 422 5.2.5 Carbon capture from air (‚Artificial Trees‘) Air capture installations are complex technical facilities relevant to the environment (energy needed to extract the CO2 from the atmosphere, necessity to dispose of the extracted CO2).
Therefore, in general, the usual requirements of EU and German law for installations are applicable.
Accordingly, installations with a significant impact on the environment require licensing, provided that they fall under the categories of installations listed in the relevant annexes of the http://www.bmu.de/gesetze_verordnungen/bmu-downloads/doc/43640.php.
See Mißling (2008), p. 290-292; Much (20), p. 132-135.
Srivastava (2011), p. 192-194.
Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering IPPC Directive (to be replaced by the IE Directive) and of the 4th Federal Immission Control Ordinance. However, air capture installations are not explicitly included in any of these categories. One may ask whether they fall under the new category ‘installations for the capture of CO2 streams for the purpose of geological storage according to Directive 2009/31/EC from installations not covered by this Directive’ included in the above-mentioned Directives in the context of the CCS Directive. However, as evidenced by recital 4 of the CCS Directive, which mentions ‘industrial installations’ and ‘fossil fuel power plants’, air capture is a different technology which cannot be treated as ‘CCS’. Furthermore, it is not allowed to draw an analogy to an included category like CCS installations, as the enumeration of the categories is concluding. 423 Thus, air capture installations are not covered by the legislation mentioned above. They would thus not be subject to environmental licensing and the corresponding obligations of operators, in particular the observance of emission and immission limit values.
They are not included in the list of categories of the EIA Directive, neither, so that an environmental impact assessment would not be required.
However, the Federal Immission Control Act is also applicable to installations not subject to licensing, if they correspond to the definition of ‘installation’ in section 3 (5) Federal Immission Control Act. The latter is the case, as air capture installations, as noted above, may have a relevant impact on the environment. According to section 22 Federal Immission Control Act, installations not subject to licensing shall be constructed and operated in such a way that harmful effects on the environment are, with the use of the best available techniques, prevented or kept to minimum if unavoidable, and that wastes produced during the operation of such installations can be properly disposed of. It is disputed whether this means that the precautionary principle does not apply to such installations. 424 Specific requirements for such installations are entailed in several ordinances and to some extent in the Technical Instructions on Air Quality Control. 425 Of particular relevance for air capture installations appears to be the obligation in section 22 (1) No. 3 Federal Immission Control Act to be able to dispose of the produced waste in a proper way, since this may apply to the extracted CO2. 426 It is doubtful that the CCS Directive is applicable to the storage of CO2 stemming from air capture installations, as it was designed for the capture of CO2 from industrial installations, in particular fossil fuel power plants (see above). Arguably, the exclusion of CO2 from the Waste Framework Directive 2006/12/EC as well as from the new Federal Closed Substance Cycle Management Act for the purpose of CCS cannot be applied to the extraction of CO2 by air capture installations.. Thus, the legal situation may be similar to the status of CCS before the CCS Directive. It could, however, be remedied by extending German CCS legislation to the storage of CO2 from air capture installations.
Finally, the building regulations of the federal states are applicable to air capture installations, and may require a building permit. However, the above-mentioned German rules which apply to air capture installations may not be sufficient to adequately cover the pollution risks of For EU Law see Meßerschmidt (2011), chapter 10 Para. 29; for German Law see Dietlein (2010), section 4 BImSchGpara. 12.
See for different opinions Kloepfer (2004), chapter 14 para. 206.
See point 1 (5) of the Instructions.
This depends primarily on whether the CO2 is stored in gaseous or liquid form, and if in gaseous form, whether it is cased in a recipient or not, see section 2 No. 8 of the Federal Closed Substance Cycle Management Act and Much (2007), p. 134.
Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering chemicals involved in the process (see above). This may necessitate legislation amending the EU and German rules on installations subject to licensing, which are designed to cover more significant pollution risks, in order to include these installations.
5.2.6 Biomass and biochar Regarding biomass and biochar techniques, existing legislation concerning the deposition of biomass into or on soils, and legislation concerning the transformation of biomass into biochar have to be considered.
The transformation of biomass into biochar may take place on a centralised, large-scale level or on a decentralised, small-scale level.
The former is an industrial process possibly regulated by the IPPC Directive, the Waste Incineration Directive 2000/76/EC (WI Directive) and the successor IE Directive on EU level, and by the Federal Immission Control Act on German level and relevant Federal Immission Control Ordinances. Thus, Article 3 (4) of the WI Directive refers to any thermal treatment of wastes with or without recovery of the combustion heat generated, including pyrolysis. However, Article 2 of the Directive excludes from its scope vegetable wastes from agriculture and forestry and other categories of bio-waste, in particular virgin wood wastes. Thus, at least virgin biomass resources may not fall under the provisions of the WI Directive, leading to the plant not being considered as waste incineration plant but as power plant subject solely to the IPPC Directive (and the relevant provisions in the IE Directive). 427 According to point 8.2 Annex I of the 4th Federal Immission Control Ordinance, the pyrolysis of virgin wood waste and certain categories of treated wood waste is categorized as a power plant subject to licensing if the thermal output is 1 megawatt or more. For such a plant, an impact assessment would be required only with a thermal output of 50 megawatt or more, or as result of a pre-assessment of the individual case based on the particularities of the location of the plant. 428 Transformation of biomass into biochar on a decentralised, small-scale level are regulated by the provisions of the Federal Immission Control Act concerning installations not subject to licensing (section 22 and following) and may be subject to the specific requirements of the 1st Federal Immission Control Ordinance on small and medium-scale combustion plants, and to some extent to the Technical Instructions on Air Quality Control.
The deposition of biochar on soils aims not only at storing CO2 but also at using the biochar as fertiliser. Thus, this technique primarily raises questions relating to its permissibility according to EU and German legislation on fertilisers, but may also involve issues relating to legislation on wastes, waters and soils. On EU level, the use of fertilisers is subject to Regulation 2003/2003/EC regulating the placing on the market and the use of ‘EC fertilisers’ and to waste or other legislation such as the Sewage Sludge Directive 86/278/EC. In German law, the use of fertilisers is regulated by the Federal Fertiliser Act, the Federal Fertiliser Ordinance, the Federal Fertilising Ordinance and waste legislation, in particular the Federal Sewage Sludge Ordinance and the Federal Bio-Waste Ordinance. Legislation on fertilisers and waste legislation generally stakes precedence over the provisions of the Federal Soil Protection Law. Under certain See Shackley and Sohi (2010), p. 62.
See point 8.2 Annex 1 of the Federal Environmental Impact Assessment Act.
Options and Proposals for the International Governance of Geoengineering conditions, fertilisation of soil may require permission from the water authorities according to section 8 (1) in conjunction with section 9 (2) No. 2 of the Federal Water Act. 429 Charcoal made of wood which has not been treated chemically is included in the list of generally allowed substances of the Federal Fertiliser Ordinance (Table 7.1.10), being a traditional means for soil amelioration in private gardens. Apart from that, up to now no explicit regulation exists for the use of biochar as fertiliser. 430 As a consequence, there is no sound legal basis for the use of ‘new’ biochar as fertiliser. 431 There are initiatives working on a classification of biochar with the aim to establish a certification system. 432 According to EU and German waste law, biochar appears to be waste rather than a product 433.
On this basis, using biochar for fertilising soils is a form of recovery, which appears to be allowed if there is no risk that hazardous substances are accumulated in the soil. It is unclear, however, if any of the existing regulations on hazardous substances is applicable to biochar, making an assessment difficult. 434 Furthermore, the composition of the biochar under consideration might be decisive for the result of that assessment. 435 In contrast to the ‘open’ deposition of biochar on soils with fertilising effects, direct airproof deposition of biomass into soils with the only aim to store CO2 is primarily a matter of waste legislation, subject to the Waste Framework Directive and the Federal Closed Substance Cycle Management Act as well as to specific regulations for landfill (Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC and Federal Landfill Ordinance). To the extent that German waste legislation entails provisions regarding the licensing and operation of waste management installations for waste disposal that regulate impacts on soil, the Federal Soil Protection Act is not applicable. 436 According to section 28 (1) of the Federal Closed Substance Cycle Management Act, waste disposal is generally allowed only in licensed facilities. However, a prime objective of Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste (Landfill Directive) is to reduce the production of methane gas from landfills through the reduction of landfill of biodegradable waste, which has to be treated before being disposed of. 437 While biochar is the result of a treatment of biomass, this is not the case for biomass to be disposed of directly. Furthermore, according to the Federal Landfill Ordinance, underground storage is only permitted for hazardous waste, while biodegradable waste is generally non-hazardous waste. Finally, according to the waste hierarchy in Article 4 of the Waste Framework Directive, 438 waste disposal is generally subordinated to waste prevention See Kotulla (2011), § 9 Para. 51.
Ökometric/Holweg (2011), p. 1.
Ökometric/Holweg (2011), p. 2, 5-6, use different pieces of legislation and their limit values as orientation for an assessment of the environmental impact of the use of biochar as fertilizer.
See Biochar Science Network (2010).
See Shackley and Sohi (2010), p. 61-62.
Ökometric/Holweg (2011), p. 2, 5-6, use different pieces of legislation and their limit values as orientation for an assessment of the environmental impact of the use of biochar as fertiliser.
Ökometric/Holweg (2011), p. 14.
See section 3 (1) No. 2 of the Federal Soil Protection Act and for details Kloepfer (2004), § 12 para. 112-118.
For German Law, see section 6 of the Federal Closed Sustance Cycle Management Act.