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Data Projects

The CCS potential for Waste-to-Energy plants

There is increasing interest in the potential for capturing CO2 from waste-to-energy (WtE) plants in Europe, and safely storing it. But how many of these plants are there in Europe, how much CO2 do they emit and how much could be captured?

CEWEP, the Confederation of European Waste to Energy Plants, holds an overview of the WtE plants in Europe, which we reproduced on the map below.

Waste-to-Energy plants in Europe in 2018, based on data from CEWEP. Bubble size represents the plant capacity

In 2018 there were 492 WtE plants in Europe, with a total capacity of 96 million tonnes of waste per year. Waste tends to emit ca. 1 tonne of CO2 for each tonne of waste incinerated (figure to the right), so we estimate the yearly CO2 emissions from WtE plants in Europe to 96 million tonnes CO2.

Correlation between waste capacity and CO2 emissions for 252 WtE plants in Europe (source: Endrava, based on data from CEWEP and CaptureMap)

WtE plants are particularly interesting seen from a city perspective. Our calculations show that at least half of the European WtE plants are located within less than 25km from a large city (min 100 000 inhabitants). More and more cities set ambitious climate goals, and WtE plants come in the way of reaching near-zero emissions for cities. One example is the city of Oslo, with a goal of 95% emissions reduction by 2030, and with two incineration plants that are responsible for approximately 20% of Oslo’s GHG emissions. It is no surprise that Oslo is one of the most ambitious cities in the world when it comes to GHG emission reductions, and at the same time on the forefront of implementing CCS on waste-to-energy plants. Carbon capture on WtE plants offers a solution to drastically reduce cities emissions while solving issues related to non-recyclable waste.

But what is the potential for CCS on WtE plants in Europe? Our data from CaptureMap shows that about half of all the plants, the largest ones, are responsible for ca. 80% of the CO2 emissions. That would be a good place to start if one wants to efficiently reduce these emissions. On average, these large plants emit 285 000 tonnes of CO2 per plant per year, slightly less than the emissions at the plant in Oslo, but still very suitable for carbon capture.

WtE plants in CaptureMap, the size of the bubbles represent CO2 emissions

A side benefit with WtE plants is that about half of their emissions are biogenic CO2, meaning CO2 from the combustion of biomass, which is climate neutral. By capturing and safely storing this CO2, cities could achieve carbon-negative emissions, which will be needed for the world to reach our GHG reduction goals on the longer run. For the cities themselves, this could be a perfect opportunity to compensate for other emission sectors which will be more difficult to abate.

Share of biogenic CO2 from 85 WtE plants in Europe (in green), with on average 56% CO2 from biomass.

Testing at the capture pilot project at Fortum Oslo Varme has shown that at least 90% of the CO2 emissions can be captured with existing technology. Applying the technology on all of Europe’s largest WtE plants, one could capture more than 70 million tonnes CO2 per year, of which more than half would bio-CCS with negative emissions. Applying it on all of Europe’s WtE plants would increase the total capture to more than 80 million tonnes CO2 per year.

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Data Projects

Making an overview of the use of oil and gas in the industry

When thinking about oil and gas, many think about filling-up their car or warming their house. However, about a quarter of the oil and gas produced in the world is used in the industry. Actually, about 10% is not even combusted, but rather transformed into products.

In an analysis for the Norwegian oil and gas association, we mapped the use of oil and gas products in the world, with a focus on Europe. We established that 15% of the products were used as energy source in the industry, while ca. 10% is non-energy use, that is to say mostly used as raw materials. 

In OECD countries 74% of the non-energy use is for the chemicals and petrochemicals industry, another 12% is used in the construction segment
(mostly bitumen), and smaller amounts are used across other industry segments, in housing and
services, and transports (mostly lubricants).

Share of oil and gas to non-energy use and industry, world, 2015 (calculated, based on IEA, 2017)

Endrava’s analysis of the petrochemical industry shows that the main final products are plastics (63%), fertilisers (21%), solvents and rubber. The demand for oil and gas as non-energy products therefore follows closely the output of the chemical and petrochemicals industry.

Production flows in the chemical/petrochemicals industry in the world (calculated, based on data from IEA 2017 and other sources)

There, the demand for plastics products plays a major role, and plastics production has been increasing steadily since they were first introduced in the early 1950s. The demand follows the GDP, and is expected to reach more than 1,000 Mt in 2050 (vs. ca. 350 Mt in 2016). A large share of the plastics products is used for packaging. A reduction in the use of plastics products, their re-use and recycling could be three parameters impacting the plastic demand in the future, although their future effect is uncertain at the moment. In addition, the production of bio-based plastics (from renewable sources) is increasing, but still fails to have a significant impact on the total demand for oil and gas products as feedstock to plastics production.

Use the link below to access the complete report about the use of oil and gas in the industry.

They worked on this project:

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Data Projects

Comparing GHG emissions from personal vehicles

Our analysis of GHG emissions from personal vehicles show that electric, hydrogen and biogas cars are best for climate in Norway and Sweden.

There has been a lot of debate around the actual climate benefits of low-emission vehicles, and different studies come to different conclusions. Regional variations can explain part of these differences. We wanted to see if we could conclude on this topic for Norway and Sweden, and if our findings would be robust across vehicle sizes. To find that out, we calculated emissions from manufacturing, using and scrapping cars in both countries, taking into account variables such as fuel/energy type and origin, vehicle size and weight class.

Cars come in all shapes and sizes, so to establish a representative analysis we collected data on as many vehicles as possible, from available online databases and websites. Our dataset includes more than 7800 cars running on fossil-fuel, 6 models with hydrogen, 63 hybrid, 28 with (bio)gas, and 67 electric models.

We have data on manufacturer and model, fuel type and consumption (both theoretical (NEDC) and real), on vehicle weight and class. For low-emission vehicles we also collected specific data on technology, battery size, weight, energy density and energy efficiency.

We analysed the data and established correlations between vehicles curb-weight, battery capacity, battery weight and energy/fuel efficiency. There are of course exceptions, but most vehicles follow the same trend. For example larger electric vehicles have heavier batteries, with higher energy capacity and use more energy per kilometer.

Correlation between vehicle weight and battery weight for 32 models of electric vehicles.

We categorised the vehicles and identified low-emission equivalents for most of the conventional fossil-fuel vehicles within the six weight-classes A to F. We then combined the data on fuel use and vehicle characteristics with our data on footprint for energy and materials, to calculate the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of each car technology.

Illustration of our findings for hydrogen cars in weight-class C in Norway

This approach takes into account the differences in GHG footprint for fuels in Norway and Sweden, and differences in use of the cars. The conclusion is similar for both countries: electric, hydrogen and biogas cars are best for climate in Norway and Sweden, provided that the hydrogen is from low-emissions sources (e.g. electrolysis or reforming with CCS).

Findings for weight-class C in Sweden, across technologies and fuel types

They worked on this project:

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Projects

Calculating the life-cycle emissions of trucks

Comparing different fuels for trucks only makes sense when looking at the whole life cycle of the vehicle: from manufacturing to use and disposal.

For this project we developed a model to calculate the greenhouse gas footprint of a range of drivelines for trucks over the entire life cycle of the vehicles.

Our model makes it possible to compare the climate footprint of fuels and technologies for diesel, biodiesel, biogas, battery-electric and hydrogen trucks.

Results for biodiesel and electrical trucks

The results are country-specific, since local value-chains for fuels and energy influence the climate footprint.

They worked on this project:

Eric Rambech
Valentin Vandenbussche
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Projects

Which low-emission buses are best for climate?

As technologies develop, more and more alternatives to diesel buses become available for use in urban and rural areas.

The main purpose of these alternatives is to reduce emissions, in particular of greenhouse gases. From a climate perspective however, not all of these alternatives are equally good, and for local authorities looking at reducing their emissions, comparing different bus solutions can be a difficult exercise.

The carbon footprint of bus transport varies depending on the type of energy used and the bus equipment necessary to use this energy.

Click to download the report (in Norwegian)

In order to compare the available alternatives on a fair basis, it is important to consider the entire life cycle of buses, from when they are produced, to their use and their disposal. This also includes the production of energy, for which footprint can widely vary depending on the local electricity mix.

The different phases of the life cycle of a bus

Endrava performed an analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions and costs associated with the use of different technologies for low-emission buses, on behalf of Biogas Norway, OREEC, VEAS and AirLiquide. The report concludes that seen from a life-cycle perspective, battery-electric, hydrogen, biogas and biofuels buses have similar emission reductions. In particular cases, the use of biogas can achieve GHG emission reductions of over 100%. In Norway, the biogas technology currently has one of the lowest costs per tonne CO2e reduced, lower than with electrical or hydrogen buses.

Mapping of the biogas benefits for the SDGs

The use of biogas also provides additional sustainability benefits, especially within circular economy, waste management and agriculture. We mapped these benefits along the 17 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).

They worked on this project:

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Data Projects

Finding CO2 for capture and storage in Europe

Carbon dioxide emissions are, unfortunately, present virtually everywhere in the world. Finding sources of CO2 emissions large enough to be captured and stored is however a more challenging task.

Carbon dioxide emissions are virtually everywhere in Europe, but which of these can be captured and stored?

Large power plants, industrial sites and waste incineration plants are typically good candidates for CO2 capture and storage, since they emit large quantities of CO2 at fixed locations. In 2017 there were ca. 2000 of these plants in Europe, each emitting more than 100 000 tonnes CO2 per year.

Endrava mapped each of the plants in our data-analysis tool, captureMap. The Norwegian oil and gas association supported the initial development of the tool.

CaptureMap shows that large sites emitted 1 644 million tonnes CO2 in 2017, which is 38% of the European GHG emissions. Of these, our estimations show that 1 337 million tonnes CO2 could be captured, from ca. 1 800 large emission sites in Europe. This represent about one third of all the greenhouse gas emissions in Europe in 2017.

1800 sites in Europe could implement carbon capture, which could make it possible to store 1 337 million tonnes CO2 per year, ca. 30% of the European GHG emissions

Our tool allows finding candidates for piloting and scaling-up carbon capture in Europe, and is already successfully used by the Northern Lights project for this purpose. It includes metadata about each emission site, distances to sea and to potential storage hubs, potentially important clusters of emissions, as well as an overview of coastal and innland ports in Europe.

Illustration of the CO2 database

They work on this project:

Valentin Vandenbussche
Sigrid Møyner Hohle
Eric Rambech

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Projects

Value-chain for hydrogen from wind energy

Smøla is an island community located in the Møre & Romsdal county, north-west in Norway. Through foresight, ambition and close collaboration between public and private entities, Smøla has established itself as a pioneer in onshore wind power, and the wind farm at Smøla was Europe’s largest when it was commissioned, and the largest in Norway until 2017.

The power cable between Smøla and the mainland has effectively reached its capacity, preventing additional capacity expansions of the turbines. A new export power cable from the island to shore is considered too expensive.

Click to access the report

Meanwhile, Smøla also aims to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from transport, of which the high speed ferry and buses constitute a significant share.

Endrava, in collaboration with Hyon and JC Gjerløw Consult, performed a techno-economic study of possible hydrogen value chain concepts, all based around the production of hydrogen from Smøla’s wind farm.

Our analysis shows that, with some reservations, hydrogen should be produced at Smøla. We base this analysis on three main reasons: From a demand perspective, significant and predictable consumers technically eligible for conversion to hydrogen exist at Smøla. From a supply perspective, the hydrogen value chain at Smøla can be made competitive. From an environmental and safety perspective, hydrogen from renewable energy is well positioned to replace diesel with corresponding strong emission reduction potential.

Location of the two sites for production and distribution of hydrogen, and the wind-park at Smøla.

They worked on this project:

Eric Rambech
Valentin Vandenbussche
JC Gjerløw Consult

HYON