Carbon Capture in WTE-Could It Work?

The International Energy Agency considers offshore carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to be an essential element in reducing the effects of carbon dioxide emissions on climate change. The technology captures CO2 from plant emissions so it can be stored in geological formations offshore and onshore, and possibly used for enhanced oil recovery at aging oil wells.

Research into CCS technology started in the early 1970s, but it’s still fairly new, and only a handful of projects have been fully developed. However, as many countries clamp down on carbon emissions, a number of promising offshore CCS proposals are under consideration.

Norway is one country considering whether to go ahead with CCS. A proposed project is looking at how two industrial plant participants—one of them a WTE facility in Oslo—could be an effective pilot program for a broader initiative. Oslo’s Klemetsrud plant creates about 300,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. At present, Norway’s government estimates that a CCS plant of that scale could cost at least $850 million, including the costs of shipping and burying the gases. While that translates to a cost of more than $100 to avoid one metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions—far higher than the average current price in the European carbon market overall—the program would examine ways to reduce this cost.

If Norway were to approve as CCS plant at Klemestrud, work could begin in 2022. Germany and Sweden are also said to be looking into the technology.