Oslo's main trash incinerator has experimented with carbon capture

Oslo's trash incinerator shows promise in climate change test

Image credit: Reuters

Emissions from burning household trash could be captured and stored using CCS technology, an experiment in Oslo has shown. However, upscaling the technology would be costly.

The world’s first experiment in capturing fumes from a trash incinerator in Oslo has recently been evaluated, proving that the technology - more commonly installed in power plants and factories - could also be used in such a facility.

“We had very promising results,” said Oscar Graff, head of carbon capture, utilisation and storage at Aker Solutions, which ran the year-long test, beginning in January 2016, with a facility bolted onto Oslo's main Klemetsrud waste incinerator.

“Here you have almost everything which can burn... plastics, tyres, suitcases, whatever.”

The incinerator, which generates energy for heating buildings in the Norwegian capital, emits about 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, about 0.6 per cent of Norway's total.

However, deploying the technology on a larger scale is expected to be costly.

“Technically it should be possible to build [a carbon capture plant],” Johnny Stuen, technical director for the Klemetsrud waste project, told Reuters.

The Norwegian government estimates that a carbon capture and storage plant such as Klemetsrud would cost at least 7.2 billion crowns ($866.61 million), including the costs of shipping and burying the gases in a depleted North Sea oilfield.

That would put the cost of avoiding a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions at above 100 euros ($107) a tonne, Stuen said - far above prices in a European carbon market of about 5.2 euros.

The Klemetsrud CCS plant would start in 2022 if the government approves it. Companies in Germany and Sweden have expressed interest in the technology, Graff said.

Around the world, CCS projects have often run into delays and cancellations because of high costs. US President Donald Trump, who has dismissed climate change as a hoax, wants fewer regulations on the fossil fuel industry.

On Monday, however, an international report said the world may need 4,000 big CCS plants by 2030, against only a few dozen now in operation or planned, to get on track for the Paris goals for limiting heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.

“The growth in solar and wind has been great, but it needs to accelerate and there are yawning gaps like CCS,” said lead author Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.

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