Helsinki - VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has published an overview of the potential to apply CCS (carbon capture and storage) in the Nordic countries. The report - commissioned by the Nordic Innovation Centre - gives an overview of the technologies and applications required for CCS in the Nordic countries. This study is a part of the Nordic Top-level Research Initiative - the largest Nordic-funded research programme to date within the fields of energy, environment and climate.
|Source: VTT/ GTK|
The report shows that CCS technology offers opportunities for the Nordic countries to reduce CO2 emissions since there are both large stationary sources of CO2 and geologically suitable underground formations for its storage in the region. In total, 277 facilities in the Nordic countries each had emissions exceeding more than 0.1 Mt CO2 in 2007. The fossil emissions of these facilities totalled 113 Mt CO2, which corresponds to 51 percent of the total fossil CO2 emissions from the Nordic countries that year. Power and heat plants accounted for the largest part (45 percent) of the emissions, followed by oil and gas activities (22 percent) and iron and steel production (12 percent).
The results from the project indicate that CCS could have a significant role also in reducing the Finnish greenhouse gas emissions, assuming that the price for emission allowances rises high enough due to stringent emission reduction targets. According to VTT’s preliminary calculations a reduction of 10 – 30 percent of Finland’s carbon dioxide emissions could be achieved with CCS technology by 2050. However, this requires that the price level for emission allowances rises to 70 – 90 euros per tonne carbon dioxide by 2050. The current level is 15 – 20 Euros per tonne.
The capacity for storing CO2 in underground geological formations in the Nordic countries seems sufficient for a large-scale deployment of CCS. The storage capacity of aquifers offshore in Norway was estimated at 85 Gt CO2, while the storage capacity in Denmark was estimated at 2 Gt CO2.
Applying CCS technology to power plants would reduce the CO2 emissions from combustion by 80–90 percent; however, it would also almost double the production cost of electricity due to the energy requirements of the capture process.
A large part of the CO2 emissions from the Nordic energy sector come from large, coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants, although current CCS development work has focused on condensing coal-fired power plants. As industrial facilities – steel plants and cement plants, as well as oil and gas refineries and platforms – are also major sources of CO2 emissions, CCS solutions for these processes are also being developed.
CO2 emissions from biomass combustion were also found to be considerable. The mapped facilities emitted 54 Mt of biogenic CO2 in 2007, which mostly (76 percent) originated from large pulp and paper mills in Finland and Sweden. Capturing and storing CO2 from biomass combustion would function as a CO2 sink, i.e. reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, the current EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) for CO2 emissions does not include CO2 originating from biomass. Therefore, there are currently no economic incentives to apply CCS to facilities emitting biogenic CO2. Also, very few studies have been carried out on this subject.
Since most of the known storage potential is located in the North Sea, the deployment of CCS in the Nordic countries would require a large-scale transport and storage infrastructure. According to the calculations in the report, the annual Nordic CO2 emissions could, at best, be lowered by 10–30 Mt (or 5–15 percent) by 2030 and 30–50 Mt (or 15–25 percent) by 2050 using CCS technology. This would, however, require the price of the emission allowances to rise from the current level of Euro 10–20 per tonne to Euro 100 per tonne CO2 by 2050.
To date, there has been very little European activity related to CCS infrastructure development; furthermore, policies related to CCS are still at an early stage in the Nordic countries, It is questionable, therefore, whether the current national- and EU-level initiatives are sufficient to develop the necessary infrastructure for CCS deployment in the Nordic region within the required timescale.
Original source: Sebastian Teir, Jens Hetland, Erik Lindeberg, Asbjørn Torvanger, Katarina Buhr, Tiina Koljonen, Jenny Gode, Kristin Onarheim, Andreas Tjernshaugen, Antti Arasto, Marcus Liljeberg, Antti Lehtilä, Lauri Kujanpää & Matti Nieminen. Potential for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the Nordic region. Espoo 2010. VTT Tiedotteita – Research Notes 2556. 188 p. + app. 30 p.
More information under vtt.fi; information poster under co2geonet.com. Quelle: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland