Viridor accelerates the decarbonisation of the waste sector with £1 billion investment

Viridor today announced plans to help the UK accelerate its decarbonisation agenda through an international partnership for next-generation carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology (CCUS).
Viridor accelerates the decarbonisation of the waste sector with £1 billion investment

At the Prime Minister’s Global Investment Summit Viridor, one of the UK’s leading recycling, resources and waste management companies and majority owned by KKR, announced an ambitious plan for investing up to £1 billion in cutting-edge CCUS technologies across 7 sites in the UK, with the potential to create up to 1,200 green jobs. As a key member of HyNet, Viridor plans to invest in a major carbon capture facility that will capture 0.9 million tonnes of carbon from their Runcorn energy from waste facility. Runcorn is the foundation of Viridor’s ambitious carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) investment strategy. 

To support the delivery of CCUS, modular CCUS plants would be installed on five Viridor energy-from-waste (EfW) sites across the UK. Viridor has partnered with pure-play CCUS specialist Aker Carbon Capture for the delivery of five modular plants. Aker Carbon Capture’s plug-and-play CCUS solutions are based on the company’s proprietary and HSE-friendly carbon capture technology, which it has developed over the past 20 years.

Runcorn and Viridor EfW plant with CCS technology

David Phillips, Head of UK at Aker Carbon Capture, said: "The UK has set out a globally leading ambition on CCS and has the natural resources to make this a reality, which was instrumental in attracting Aker Carbon Capture to partner with Viridor in this market."

This builds on Viridor’s existing plan to develop a c.0.9m tonne carbon capture plant at the EfW site in Runcorn, Cheshire, as part of the HyNet industrial CCUS cluster in the north-west of the UK. Independent analysis published in October 2021 indicates that the 15 EfW sites within 20 miles of the UK’s 5 industrial CCUS clusters could capture and permanently store just under 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030. The research also suggests that CCUS on EfW facilities could be lower cost in absolute terms than any other industrial sector. 

The modular carbon capture plants will allow the technology to be deployed within fifteen months of planning and permitting, reducing fossil emissions at these sites by up to 90%. Developing the modular CCUS plants on the five EfW sites combined with two planned bespoke CCUS plants, would deliver c.1.5 MT CO2 savings a year, meeting 15% of the Government’s 2030 emissions reduction target. Government policy support for carbon capture schemes on waste management sites are considered key to unlocking investment, jobs and net zero economic growth. This investment would create around 1,000 construction jobs and up to 180 skilled green jobs in Scotland, Wales and the English regions.

Kevin Bradshaw, CEO of Viridor, said: “Viridor stands ready to invest in developing world-leading carbon capture technology. This will support our company and sector to decarbonise, as we have committed to do. But first of a kind technology projects on this scale require genuine partnership between the public and private sectors. Government policy support for waste management facilities to participate in industrial carbon capture schemes will be vital for us to keep progressing our plans.”

Tim Rotheray, Viridor’s Director of ESG and External Affairs, said “The green light for HyNet is a significant step forward on the UK’s path to Net Zero. We will need carbon capture technologies to fully decarbonise the waste sector, coupled with big increases in recycling. Viridor will continue to work closely with government to ensure that new CCUS policies allow Runcorn and our other sites to compete to deliver deep, cost-effective emissions reduction across all parts of the UK.”