If we are to reach our climate targets, it won’t be enough to simply cut our emissions – we must also remove large amounts of existing CO2 from our atmosphere, also known as “negative emissions”.
Negative-emission technologies already exist, and new ideas and technologies are continuously being developed. However, we lack a national plan for which measures and technologies Norway should focus on in order to develop cost-effective solutions for the removal of historical emissions.
At Arendalsuka, ACCSESS Project Coordinator Kristin Jordal (SINTEF) and Markus Sebastian Hole, head of public affairs at Hafslund Oslo Celsio (partner in ACCSESS), participated in an event on the topic, entitled Negative ambisjoner – slik må vi fjerne CO2 for å nå netto null (“Negative ambitions – this is how we need to remove CO2 to achieve net zero”).
Arendalsuka (lit. “Arendal’s week”) is a Norwegian political festival that takes place in August every year, in Arendal.
Removing CO2 using CCS and biomass
ACCSESS is currently investigating negative emissions by implementing CCS in industries that have biogenic CO2 emissions, such as waste to energy and pulp and paper.
Biomass, such as trees and plants, absorb CO2 naturally as a part of photosynthesis. The carbon remains trapped in the biomass until it’s burned or decayed, when it is released back into the atmosphere.
However, using carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS), we can capture that CO2 and prevent it from escaping into the atmosphere. This contributes to negative emissions, as we will have taken more CO2 out of the atmosphere than we will have put in.
Significant potential for CO2 removal in the waste-to-energy industry
In terms of waste-to-energy, approximately 50% of the CO2 is biogenic, meaning there is a significant potential for CO2 removal.
“There is enormous potential in the industry. ETH Zürich has estimated that the waste-to-energy in Europe alone can remove 5 million tonnes of CO2,” said Markus. However, he went on to stress that Norwegian and European authorities need to establish incentives and frameworks on CO2 removal in order to realise this potential.
“Waste-to-energy with CCS must be recognised as an important source of CO2 removal,” he said.
However, in addition to regulations, there is still a lot of research that needs to be conducted on CO2 removal technologies:
“A downside to all these technologies is that they take enormous amounts of energy,” said Kristin. “But we are working with them to see how we can make them more efficient, and how we can integrate them into a CCS system, because CCS is a prerequisite for a lot of the technical aspects of carbon removal.”
ACCSESS is currently trialling improved CO2 capture using a mobile rig from Hafslund Oslo Celsio, using an enzyme from Saipem and a rotating packed bed absorber from Prospin and Proceler. Tests are currently concluding at Technology Centre Mongstad, with the next tests to be undertaken at Stora Enso‘s pulp and paper mill in Sweden.
Watch the event in full on YouTube (in Norwegian with sign language interpretation)