Fortum Oslo Varme joined us for a chat on their plans to implement the first full-scale carbon capture and storage project capturing flue gas CO2 from a waste-to-energy plant. European carbon capture projects like this are impacted by the EU regulatory framework – including TEN-E – which is why we want to hear from as many as possible.
This interview comes as part of the #TenETuesday campaign. We are running this alongside Bellona Europe in order to raise attention to the forthcoming revision of the TEN-E Revision.
Why is Carbon Capture and Storage important to reach set climate targets?
Well, I think it’s quite obvious that we are running really late reducing CO2 emissions and reaching the targets for the Paris Agreement. The longer we wait, and the longer it takes before we actually manage to reduce emissions – the more Carbon Capture and Storage we will need. Carbon Capture and Storage is necessary to reduce emissions from industrial sites and sectors where we cannot reduce emissions in any other way in the short term. This also includes waste-to-energy plants.
Waste-to-energy is the most sustainable solution for the treatment of residual waste that cannot or should not be recycled, and by adding CCS to these plants we greatly reduce the emissions from the end-of-line solution for waste. This is not an opposite to, but an addition to other important measures to reduce emissions from waste handling, such as reducing waste amounts and closing down landfills as well as increased sorting and recycling. Waste-to-energy combined with CCS is also a unique climate tool as it enables capture of both fossil and biological CO2, and thus can contribute substantially to carbon removal and net negative emissions.
Carbon Capture and Storage is necessary to handle the sheer volume of CO2 that has to be returned to where it came from – we will not be able to phase out fossil energy fast enough to reach the 1.5°C target. So, in my view, Carbon Capture and Storage is definitely an industry and a technology we need to develop on a large scale, in addition to the transformation from fossil to renewable energy.
Can you tell us more about the Carbon Capture and Storage project at Fortum Oslo Varme?
The plan is to capture 90% of the CO2-emissions from our waste incineration plant in Oslo, which is approximately 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Of this, about 50% is fossil CO2 which accounts for about 15% of the total CO2-emissions in Oslo. The other 50% captured is biological CO2 contributing to net negative emissions. So, this is an important climate project for both Fortum Oslo Varme, for the City of Oslo and for Europe. As we are not located at port we are planning to transport liquid CO2 using emission-free trucks. Hopefully, this will be the first full-scale Carbon Capture and Storage project capturing CO2 from a waste-to-energy plant’s flue gas. It is also an important demonstration project that shows how cities can reduce their emissions by implementing CCS on waste-to-energy, as a part of sustainable waste solutions.
Why are transport modalities other than pipelines important for you and your activities and for the larger scheme and development of Carbon Capture and Storage?
Fortum Oslo Varme’s CCS-project is connected to the Northern Lights Carbon Capture and Storage project – the purpose of which is to be able to scale up and to receive CO2 from emission-points all over Europe. I think that the flexibility of using different modes of transport in such projects is an important factor in order to be able to scale up fast – which in many cases means using ship transport. Ships is a much more flexible solution than having to wait to build large pipelines. Using ships, and for our part also truck transport to port, gives a flexibility for emission points to connect to the value chain and logistics chain in a much more scalable and flexible way as opposed to building of pipelines. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need pipelines, of course we do. It’s just that we also need to focus on flexible solutions provided through other transport modalities in order to scale this work up as fast as possible. This will also make us able to connect CO2 emission points at more remote locations. This flexibility is very important for many waste-to-energy plants where we need to develop several CCS projects as soon as possible.
What role has the TEN-E to play in this and recognizing CO2-storage?
We need to have solutions for transporting and storing the CO2 before we can actually start developing carbon capture solutions at a large scale, this is again the chicken and the egg situation. So it is important that we find ways to finance these common projects for flexible CO2 transport and storage in order to have the capture sites developing their projects. Just as the Innovation Fund for example provides funding opportunities, so should the TEN-E. The TEN-E recognition of CO2 storage, and in particular by adding support to flexible solutions offered through transport modalities such as ships, rail and truck, can help engage the private market as well – facilitating much needed fast-paced market development and project deployment.
Plans to reduce 15% of the City of Oslo’s emissions
Fortum Oslo Varme is co-owned by the City of Oslo and Fortum – the latter an energy company with operations in recycling and waste-handling, involved in sustainable cities in Europe. They are currently working to establish a carbon capture project from their waste to energy plant in Oslo. Planning to capture 90% of the CO2 emissions from the waste incineration – approximately 400,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. 50% of the emissions from the waste incineration make up 15% of the total CO2 emissions in Oslo. Additionally, the plant will even go carbon negative, as 50% of the CO2 emitted by the incinerator is biological CO2 coming from biowaste. Not situated directly at port, the CO2 is planned to be transported to port in liquid form using emission-free trucks.
The plant could in fact become one of the world’s first carbon negative incinerators, currently pending a decision from the European Commission to fund a CO2 capture facility. The Norwegian government has already pledged € 300 million in funding, conditional on Fortum finding the remaining funding. A great example of cooperation across borders to enhance climate change mitigation, Fortum Oslo Varme has been put on the short list of the Innovation Fund for additional funding. Mayor of Oslo Raymond Johansen sees the project as one of European dimension, stating that they: “see this is an industrial agreement, which will benefit Europe as a whole because there will be a transfer of technology”.
Want to learn more? Check out Euractiv’s recent interview with Fortum Oslo Varme CCS Director Jannicke Gerner Bjerkås.