The trial at the Norwegian capital's main waste incinerator began
in January in a groundbreaking bid to develop technology to enlist
the world's trash in slowing global warming.
The test at the Klemetsrud incinerator, which burns household and
industrial waste, is a step beyond most efforts to capture and bury
greenhouse gases at coal-fired power plants or factories using
So far, high costs have plagued technology for carbon capture and
storage. Last December, almost 200 nations agreed a deal in Paris to
fight climate change in a new spur for technologies to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.
Johnny Stuen, technical director of the Klemetsrud waste-to-energy
incinerator, said the plant already generates heat to warm buildings
in the city. "When it comes here what we want to do is to burn the
rest that is not usable for material recovering because it's too
dirty or too mixed or whatever," Stuen told Reuters. "We want to
recover the energy in it because that's still available. So that's
when it comes here and we take care of it and burn it up and then we
use the energy to district heating and producing electricity."
The Klemetsrud incinerator emits more than 300,000 tonnes of carbon
dioxide a year, or 0.6 percent of Norway's man-made emissions. It
also burns imported rubbish from Britain.
Carbon dioxide is the main gas blamed for stoking rising
temperatures and more droughts, floods and rising seas.
The test plant, in five containers feeding exhaust gases through a
series of pipes and filters, will capture carbon dioxide at a rate
equivalent to 2,000 tonnes a year until the end of April.
"On average we're capturing about two, two-and-a-half tonnes, a day.
That's our average, more or less, that's because of the restrictions
of the unit itself," said Espen Jorgensen, site manager of the test
unit for Aker Solutions, which is running the trial.
The project is being funded by Gassnova, Norway's state enterprise
for developing carbon capture and storage.
Oscar Graff, head of CCS at Aker Solutions, said he expects the
experiment to capture up to 90 per cent of the CO2 emitted by the
plant. "Up until now we have about 700 operating hours here at
Klemetsrud and we have captured about 80 tonnes of CO2, and what is
nice from this flue gas from Klemetsrud is the high content of the
CO2, it's about 12 percent, volume percent, of CO2," said Graff.
"It's fairly easy to capture. So up until now we have no problem
with the process, it works very steady and so far all the test
results look very promising."
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If it works, a full-scale carbon capture plant could be built by
2020, officials said. Carbon dioxide could then be shipped to the
North Sea for injection and permanent storage in geological
structures below the sea bed or injected into oil and gasfields to
help boost pressure and raise production.
"So 300,000 tonnes comes here every year and we can capture 300,000
tonnes CO2 from those 300,000 tonnes of waste. So it's approximately
one ton of CO2 per ton of waste that can be captured," said Stuen.
Officials declined to discuss costs but said the price of emitting
carbon dioxide in the European Union emissions trading market would
have to be far above a current 6 euros ($6.50) per ton for the
technology to be feasible at scale.
About 60 percent of the rubbish burnt at Klemetsrud is of biological
origin - from waste wood to food. That means that capturing
emissions would be a step to extract carbon from a natural cycle in
so-called "negative emissions".
"If we succeed in this, this will be negative emissions because the
mix of carbon in the waste is approximately 50 to 60 percent
biological and 40 to 50 percent fossil, so the biological part of it
will be carbon negative, or negative emissions," said Stuen.
A 2015 report by the Australia-based Global Carbon Capture and
Storage Institute said there are just 15 big CCS projects in
operation worldwide, including a coal-fired power plant run by
Canada's Saskatchewan Power[SSPOW.UL].
If the experiment is successful, Aker Solutions hopes to use the
technology at waste-to-energy sites around the world, of which there
are around 450 plants in Europe and about 700 globally.
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