A Path to Decarbonization through Waste Management

In the quest for sustainable solutions, the production of energy from the incineration of residual waste emerges as a win/win. We explain why this is and the opportunity CO2 emissions reduction and removal provides.
A Path to Decarbonization through Waste Management
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A Path to Decarbonization through Waste Management

In the quest for sustainable solutions, the production of energy from the incineration of residual waste emerges as a win/win. It not only provides a pragmatic approach to waste management but also produces stable baseload energy, and in the process circumvents the need for landfill and its related GHG emissions.

As the world grapples with the urgency of decarbonization, substantial reductions in fossil CO2 emissions across all industrial sectors including waste incinerations are imperative. The EU’s Industrial Carbon Management Strategy is a case in point, outlining ambitious climate targets, including a 90% reduction in net fossil CO2 emissions by 2040 relative to 1990 levels, with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

While the combustion process inherently limits the potential for complete fossil CO2 emission avoidance, EfW will remain an indispensable service to society. According to EU’s waste hierarchy—Prevention, Re-use, Recycle, Recover, and Dispose—the waste incinerated at EfW facilities is residual and lacks alternative value or use. Without energy recovery via incineration, this waste would inevitably end up in landfill.

The Opportunity for CO2 Emissions Reduction and Removal

The incineration of municipal and industrial waste produces both fossil and biogenic CO2 emissions. The fraction of fossil vs biogenic CO2 in the flue gas stream from an EfW plant depends on the feedstock being incinerated, but in most municipal waste incineration facilities, it is typically around 50:50.

By integrating one of Aker Carbon Capture’s (ACC) Carbon Capture plants at an EfW facility, we can capture both the fossil and biogenic CO2 from the flue gas stream. This CO2 can then be conditioned and liquified for transportation to permanent sequestration in geological storage sites.

Through implementing CCS, fossil CO2 released from the incineration of waste can be abated, whilst capture of the biogenic CO2 emissions results in carbon dioxide removal, meaning that CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and the natural carbon cycle. Carbon removals thus provides an opportunity to not only compensate for hard-to-abate emissions but also historical emissions, which is crucial in reaching climate neutrality in 2050 and avoiding overshoot of global emissions targets aligned towards the goals of the Paris agreement.

EfW facilities in combination with carbon capture and storage is the natural next step of modern waste management, unlocking the opportunity to achieve vast volumes of carbon reduction and carbon removal in the near-term.

Aker Carbon Capture: Enabling CCS for EfW

At Aker, we have been working with CO2 separation for nearly 30 years. Since 2020, Aker Carbon Capture has been delivering industrial-scale CO2 capture plants to customers in Europe. Through our Just CatchTM products, we offer a range of standardized, modular capture plants.  Our Just CatchTM design has been continuously improved, with particular focus on developing advanced emission control systems including the patented AntiMistTM technology, solutions to minimize net energy consumption, as well as the development of a Health, Safety and Environmentally friendly solvent portfolio. Our range of Just CatchTM plants are sized to fit the CO2 capture capacity requirements of most EfW plants. We have supplied Europe’s first industrial-scale carbon capture plant to an EfW facility, which is currently in final commissioning at Twence in the Netherlands. We are delivering a FEED study to Hafslund Oslo Celsio for a standardized modular Just CatchTM 400 for their EfW facility in Norway. ACC is also delivering five Just CatchTM 100 plants to Ørsted to capture biogenic CO2 from their bioenergy facilities in Denmark.

CDR from EfW

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is emerging as playing a pivotal role in achieving global carbon neutrality. It forms an integral part of numerous national and corporate decarbonization strategies, serving as an offset for residual, hard-to-abate fossil CO2 emissions and covering historic CO2 emissions.

The Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) for carbon dioxide removals has witnessed substantial growth in recent years. Buyers are highly demanding, with a strong focus on both the permanence and integrity of the carbon removals they are purchasing.

Capturing biogenic CO2 emissions from EfW facilities falls under the Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) category of carbon dioxide removal. This technology-based solution for generating CDR has many advantages over nature-based solutions with regards to the permanence of the CO2 removal and Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) of the removals. This is critical when it comes to demonstrating carbon removal integrity.

The integrity of CDR from EfW with CCS is readily demonstrable with robust MRV standards currently being developed. EfW feedstock provenance is already well regulated, and the potential for direct CO2 metering points across the CCS value chain enables accurate measurements and quantification of the total carbon negativity of a project, with a high degree of accuracy. This translates into a price premium for CDR from EfW, which can help to support the business case for implementing CCS on EfW.

While the potential for CDR generation through EfW is promising, several factors must be considered:

  • Technical Solutions: Developing robust technical solutions for integrating CCS with EfW
  • Regulatory Environment: Navigating regulatory frameworks and compliance requirements
  • VCM Engagement: Accessing additional revenues through participation in the VCM
  • State Financing: Exploring state funding opportunities
  • Additionality: Ensuring that CDR projects genuinely contribute to emissions reduction.

Aker Carbon Capture: Your Partner in EfW-CCS

Our advisory services specialize in developing the technical and commercial case for CCS with EfW. Whether it’s navigating regulations, optimizing MRV processes, or securing financing, we’re here to support your journey toward a sustainable, carbon-negative future.

We look forward to meeting with you at the Energy from Waste Conference in London March 6th-7th.

Joel Flitton – Director Carbon Removals, Aker Carbon Capture

CCUS@akercarboncapture.com

+47 67 59 00 00

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