This publication is also available online in a web-accessible version at https://pub.norden.org/temanord2021-538.
The Prime Ministers in the Nordic countries issued a climate declaration in January 2019. According to the declaration a clear aim is to intensify the climate policy cooperation between the Nordic countries. A key ambition is to strive for climate neutrality. In order to achieve that goal, the Nordics committed themselves to promote the development of technology required for CCS (carbon capture and storage). The countries would also engage in supporting research and developing business models needed for the promotion of BIOCCS (bio energy carbon capture and storage).
The overall purpose of this project has been to analyse the barriers to speeding up the development and deployment of BIOCCS in the Nordic countries. The role of BECCS in achieving climate neutrality and eventually net negative emissions has recently been emphasised in several scenario-based analyses considering possible pathways to achieving the temperature targets stipulated in the Paris agreement.
For governments several policy options to promote the development of BECCS are available. Government policy could cover a large range of measures starting from traditional support for research and innovation extending to various financial incentives and risk mitigation measures. EU-level or international coordination will also be necessary in order to establish procedures for monitoring, reporting and verification.
The report has been prepared by the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) in cooperation with the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and the Norwegian Centre for International Climate Research (CICERO). The report contains a number of policy recommendations. A steering group consisting of members from the Nordic Working Group for Environment and Economy has provided comments and input on draft reports during the project. The authors of the report are responsible for the content, and any views and recommendations presented in the report do not necessarily reflect the views and the positions of the governments in the Nordic countries.
Bent Arne Sæther
Chair of the Nordic working group for Environment and Economy
This report aims to analyse barriers that slow down the development and deployment of bioenergy with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (BECCS) in the Nordic countries and to propose appropriate initiatives on the Nordic level that can support BECCS development and deployment.
BECCS can serve two purposes: to offset residual emissions in hard-to-abate sectors (e.g. agriculture, shipping, heavy road transport) and to contribute to net negative emissions on a global level, which are likely to be required since the emissions will probably overshoot what is compatible with the Paris Agreement. In fact, BECCS is the major technology for CO2 removal (CDR) in the vast majority of scenarios associated with a high likelihood of achieving the Paris Agreement.
The Nordic countries have set ambitious targets to achieve net-zero and even net-negative GHG emissions in line with the 1.5-degree pathway, both individually through various national goals and legislation, and jointly through the 2019 Helsinki Declaration on Nordic Carbon Neutrality (“the Declaration”). In the context of net-zero targets, the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere has a key role due to its ability to offset residual emissions in hard-to-abate sectors. In the Declaration, the Prime Ministers declare that the Nordic countries want to lead by example and intensify cooperation including on removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The Declaration underlines the important role of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), including BECCS which is the leading technology that can deliver permanent CDR.
The Nordic region has an extensive forestry sector with stable carbon stocks. Sweden and Finland stand out for having a large number of substantial point source emissions of biogenic CO2 from biomass-based combined heat and power production in the pulp and paper industry and district heating sector which are suitable for the deployment of CO2 capture. Furthermore, there are plans for geological CO2 storage under development in Norway, Denmark, and Iceland, as well as in other sites in Northern Europe. The region, therefore, has unusually favourable conditions for testing and proving the feasibility of the entire BECCS value chain.
Technologies for CO2 capture from gas streams is well established in some applications. Post-combustion capture using chemical solvents is a mature capture technology and the processes involved have been applied in some industrial applications for many years. Post-combustion capture is applied in a number of relatively large-scale CCS projects around the world, mainly to power plants, and therefore features proven technologies. In total there were 26 commercial CCS projects in operation around the world in 2020 with a total capture capacity of around 40 million tonnes CO2 per year. There are five BECCS projects world wide all of which in the ethanol sector which can be considered a “low hanging fruit”. Compared to those projects, application of CO2 capture technologies to combined heat and power plants in industrial facilities or coupled to district heating involves additional integration challenges. Several CO2 transportation options are technically and commercially viable including shipping, pipeline, trucks, and freight train.
The injection and permanent geological storage of CO2 is technically feasible which has been demonstrated through a number of industrial scale projects.
Although individual technologies along the value chain are mature, integrating the entire value chain at large scale is in great need of demonstration. Developing BECCS at scale would require careful planning of transport and storage infrastructure to evolve over time in sync with the ramping up of the capture of biogenic and fossil CO2.
As already mentioned, the 2019 Helsinki Declaration on Nordic Carbon Neutrality underlines the important role of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), including BECCS, for the attainment of net-zero targets. All Nordic countries are committing R&D funds towards the development technologies in the of CCS and BECCS value chains. BECCS and other Negative Emission Technologies (NETs) have also been identified in national strategies as key to achieving ambitious national mitigation targets.
A bio heating plant under construction in Finland will be BECCS-ready. In Sweden several companies in district heating and the pulp and paper sector are investigating, and preparing for investing in, BECCS. Government support is available to conduct feasibility studies for BECCS. Additionally, in a joint initiative, Swedish district heating companies are preparing a roadmap for BECCS and CCS in waste-to-energy in the district heating sector. Another Swedish example includes a few actors jointly evaluating the establishment of an optimal regional logistics and infrastructure solution for CCS including intermediate storage at the port of Gothenburg. In the norwegian ‘Langskip’ initiative, two planned full-scale CO2 capture plants, where a share of total CO2 captured will be biogenic, receive government funding.
The Langskip project connects to the ‘Northern Lights’ CO2 transport and storage initiative. Phase one of Northern Lights will be completed in mid-2024 with a capacity to inject up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The project has the potential to increase the transport and storage capacity up to 5 million tonnes CO2 per year and provide an open acces storage solution for industrial facilities around Europe. Further storage projects are under development in Denmark and Iceland. In Denmark Project Greensand aims to have a first well ready for injection in 2025, and plans include developing the capacity to store around 3.5 million tonnes per year before 2030. In Iceland preparations are underway for a new onshore CO2 mineral storage facility where CO2 is planned to be injected into the basaltic bedrock. The aim is to start operations in 2025 and reaching full-scale operations, with an annual storage capacity of three million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.
It is thus feasible that the entire BECCS value chain may be demonstrated at full scale in the Nordic region towards the middle of this decade.
BECCS requires large capital investment and leads to additional operational costs and a major barrier to BECCS deployment today is the absence of a value attached to the mitigation outcome of BECCS. Recent supportive policy measures include the EU Innovation Fund, which makes available up to Euro 10 billion over 2020–2030 to support the demonstration of innovative first-of-its-kind, low-carbon technologies. The Innovation Fund will support up to 60 percent of the additional capital and operational costs of large-scale projects. However, current policies do not provide project developers with sufficient return on investment for capturing and storing biogenic CO2 and, moreover, support is needed beyond first-of-its-kind projects. Notably, the Swedish government is preparing to introduce a guaranteed compensation for BECCS developers through reverse auctions.
The CO2 transport and storage infrastructure required for BECCS (which is the same as for CCS applied to fossil emissions) represents up-front costs too large to be borne by a handful of BECCS projects and are particularly daunting for initial CO2 capture projects. In Norway, significant governmental support goes towards the realisation of full-scale capture of CO2, including biogenic CO2, as well as infrastructure for CO2 transport and storage.
The different components of a BECCS value chain need to be developed (and incentivised through policy) jointly. If one of either capture, transport, or storage is not moving ahead it risks the success of the entire value chain as operators will be reluctant to commit and invest if others do not do the same. The risk involved in large investments in CCS and BECCS infrastructure, the need to coordinate investments along the different components of the value chain to benefit from economies of scale, a rational system design and avoiding possible ‘hold-up’ problems, and secure free access to transportation and storage services, provide reasons why government should take a role in coordinating planning, design and investments across the value chain. At regional scale coordination between neighbouring countries can bring significant benefits.
Another investment barriers is the lack of accounting rules for BECCS that meet the need for certainty of climate benefits and create a link between policy incentives and tonne CO2 removed.
Limited private investment combined with an increasingly strong evidence base for the need of negative emissions provides a clear rationale for government intervention. Policy options range from support for research and innovation, which is especially important for technologies that are still in their early stages of development, to grant support, regulations and/or financial incentives and risk-mitigation measures. In addition, private sector support might come in the form of voluntary commitments for CDR, seed funding for CDR start-ups, and demand for negative emissions from voluntary carbon markets (for voluntary emission compensation). International coordination and collaboration will be necessary for establishing accounting protocols and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) standards for BECCS, and for developing robust sustainability frameworks.
In the shorter term it is likely that some sort of Governmental guarantees as payments for BECCS mitigation outcomes is required, to establish BECCS. Policies that tap into private capital (such as quota obligations or inclusion of BECCS in the EU ETS) may grow over time once BECCS has become more established. A policy sequencing approach that is predictable and sustainable over time could be considered by policymakers including how it could be arranged considering that the capacity to implement the different policy models lies in different organizations (national Government, EU, private firms).
All Nordic countries have adopted net-zero or near net-zero GHG emission targets that cannot be reached without CDR in some form. The potential for CO2 capture applied to emissions from bioenergy is, however, unevenly distributed with a large concentration of industry-sized point sources of biogenic CO2 in Finland and Sweden. The potential for CO2 capture from biogenic sources in those two countries exceeds their respective needs to compensate for residual emissions in hard-to-abate sectors. It would, therefore, be beneficial if these potentials could tap into support from other Nordic countries who may wish to “claim” resulting mitigation outcomes towards their respective national mitigation targets.
The rules of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement are relevant in this context. According to Article 6, a Country A can contribute to GHG mitigation in Country B and Country A can then claim (all or part of) the associated mitigation outcome towards its target. It is important that, in order to avoid double counting, Article 6 requires that ‘corresponding adjustment’ be made, which means that when Parties transfer a mitigation outcome internationally to be counted toward another Party’s mitigation pledge, this mitigation outcome must be ‘un-counted’ by the Party that agreed to transfer it.
Article 6 thus lays out the requirements for transfers between Parties including for their robust accounting, thereby enabling carbon markets to service the Paris Agreement. Of the Paris Agreements’ Article 6 market mechanisms, Article 6.2 allows for bilateral or plurilateral piloting activities. Joining forces to create a market for BECCS mitigation outcomes at the Nordic level through a regional Article 6.2 pilot would enable, for example, joint Nordic auctions for BECCS mitigation outcomes. This could contribute to speeding up the realization of the Nordic BECCS potential by connecting physical potentials in individual Nordic countries with a larger Nordic demand base for negative emissions.
The detailed rules for Article 6 have not yet been agreed by the Parties to the Paris Agreement and the operationalisation of Article 6 is still largely unchartered territory. A Nordic pilot would, therefore, contribute valuable lessons and serve as a proof of concept for international cooperation on CDR and how it can make contributions to ambition raising.
The report proposes the following priority areas of Nordic cooperation and coordination that could provide important contributions towards the development and deployment of BECCS and, consequently, towards its capacity to deliver required CDR.
Nordic countries could consider establishment of Nordic level “Market Makers” assigned to address many of the structural barriers that slow down BECCS/CCS progress and the need for coordination to overcome them. Through providing a form of central planning Market Makers can provide a degree of certainty to a CO2 storage developer that CO2 will be captured, and vice versa, and counteract sub-optimisation in infrastructure development etc.
Nordic-level market-based cooperation could offer opportunities to speed up the realization of the Nordic BECCS potential by connecting physical potentials in individual Nordic countries with a larger Nordic demand base for negative emissions from BECCS. Nordic governments could jointly explore under what conditions BECCS can be promoted at the Nordic level through a framework for market-based cooperation building on the international rules for cooperation under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. It is only through Article 6 that BECCS potentials implemented in one country can tap into support for CDR from public or private entities in other countries who may wish to “claim” the mitigation outcomes achieved with their support towards their own use.
Achieving the magnitude of CDR required to attain Nordic net-zero targets will require substantial private investment. Governments of the Nordic countries may consider how to alleviate the high capital costs and commercial and technical risks involved. Nordic grant funding programmes could potentially be of interest as a complement to existing grant opportunities. Joint and/or coordinated auctions for BECCS mitigation outcomes (on a common Nordic market building on Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement) could potentially provide a more predictable and reliable demand signal compared to countries acting individually. Nordic countries should cooperate and participate actively in the development of EU-level regulatory framework as regards creation of incentives for negative emissions from BECCS. Incentives can be created through revision of current EU-level climate policy instruments (EU ETS, ESR, LULUCF) or through new regulatory framework outside the current instruments. Nordic countries could, furthermore, collaborate on designing and testing measures to stimulate demand for, and willingness of public and private customers to pay a premium price for, commodities and services associated with negative emissions.
Nordic governments may consider coordinated research effortst to build knowledge to support the deploymento BECCS. A number of research needs with a Nordic dimension have been raised in the interviews and discussions included in this work, e.g.:
Denna rapport syftar till att analysera hinder mot utvecklingen och utbyggnaden av bioenergi med avskiljning och lagring av koldioxid (Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage, BECCS) i de nordiska länderna och att föreslå lämpliga initiativ på nordisk nivå som kan stödja genomförande och spridning av BECCS.
BECCS kan avlägsna koldioxid från atmosfären (”negativa utsläpp”) och därmed tjäna främst två syften. Det ena är att möjliggöra nollutsläpp genom att medelst negativa utsläpp kompensera återstående utsläpp i sektorer som är svåra att åtgärda (t.ex. vissa utsläpp från jordbruk, sjöfart och tung vägtransport). Det andra är att bidra till negativa nettoutsläpp på global nivå, vilket sannolikt kommer att bli nödvändigt för att minska atmosfärens halt av koldioxid till en nivå som är förenlig med Parisavtalets långsiktiga temperaturmål. BECCS är den viktigaste tekniken för avlägsnande av koldioxid från atmosfären (Carbon Dioxide Removal, CDR) i de allra flesta utsläppsscenarier förknippade med stor sannolikhet att uppnå Parisavtalets mål.
De nordiska länderna har satt upp ambitiösa mål för att uppnå nettonollutsläpp, och till och med netto-negativa växthusgasutsläpp, i linje med 1,5-gradersbanan. Målen är satta både individuellt genom olika nationella mål och lagstiftning, och gemensamt genom Helsingforsdeklarationen från 2019 om nordisk växthusgasneutralitet. Inom ramen för nettonollmål har avlägsnandet av koldioxid från atmosfären en nyckelroll på grund av dess förmåga att kompensera residuala utsläpp i som är särskilt svåra att åtgärda. I Helsingforsdeklarationen förklarar premiärministrarna att de nordiska länderna vill föregå med gott exempel och intensifiera samarbetet, inklusive att ta bort koldioxid från atmosfären. Deklarationen understryker den viktiga roll som avskiljning och lagring av koldioxid (Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS), inklusive BECCS, har.
Norden har en omfattande skogssektor med stabila kollager. Sverige och Finland utmärker sig genom att ha ett stort antal storskaliga punktkällutsläpp av biogen koldioxid som är lämpliga för koldioxidavskiljning. Dessa härrör från biomassabaserad kraftvärmeproduktion i såväl massa- och pappersindustrin som fjärrvärmesektorn. Dessutom finns det planer på geologisk koldioxidlagring under utveckling i Norge, Danmark och Island, liksom på andra platser i norra Europa. Regionen har därför ovanligt gynnsamma förutsättningar för att testa och bevisa genomförbarheten för hela BECCS-värdekedjan.
Teknik för koldioxidavskiljning från gasströmmar är väletablerad i vissa applikationer. Avskiljning efter förbränning med kemiska lösningsmedel är en mogen teknik och de involverade processerna har tillämpats i vissa industriella processer i ett flertal år. Sådan avskiljning efter förbränning tillämpas i ett antal relativt stora CCS-projekt runt om i världen, främst i fossileldade kraftverk. Totalt fanns 26 kommersiella CCS-projekt runt om i världen år 2020 med en total avskiljningskapacitet om cirka 40 miljoner ton koldioxid per år. Det finns fem BECCS-projekt globalt, samtliga inom etanolsektorn. Jämfört med genomförande i samband med etanolproduktion innebär det ytterligare integrationsutmaningar att införa koldioxidavskiljningsteknik i kraftvärmeanläggningar i industrier eller fjärrvärmesystem.
När det gäller transport av koldioxid finns det flera alternativ som är tekniskt och kommersiellt genomförbara inklusive fartyg, rörledning, lastbilar och godståg.
Injektion och permanent geologisk lagring av koldioxid är tekniskt genomförbart vilket har demonstrerats genom ett antal projekt i industriell skala.
Även om enskilda tekniker längs BECCS-värdekedjan är mogna, föreligger det ett stort behov av att demonstrera integrering av hela värdekedjan i stor skala. Att utveckla BECCS i stor skala ställer krav på en noggrann planering av transport- och lagringsinfrastrukturen för att denna över tid ska kunna utvecklas i samklang med projekt för avskiljning av biogen respektive fossil koldioxid.
Alla nordiska länder satsar FoU-medel på utveckling av teknologier längsmed CCS- och BECCS-värdekedjorna. I nationella strategier har BECCS och andra tekniker för negativa utsläpp (Negative Emission Technologies, NET) identifierats som avgörande för att kunna uppnå ambitiösa nationella utsläppsmål.
I Finland byggs en biomassabaserad fjärrvärmeanläggning som kommer att vara förberedd för BECCS. I Sverige genomför flera företag inom fjärrvärme och massa- och papperssektorerna förstudier och förberedande arbete för att kunna investera i BECCS och det erbjuds statligt stöd för genomförbarhetsstudier avseende BECCS. I ett gemensamt initiativ förbereder svenska fjärrvärmeföretag vidare en färdplan för BECCS och avfalls-CCS inom fjärrvärmesektorn. Ett annat svenskt exempel inkluderar en samling aktörer som gemensamt utvärderar etableringen av en optimal regional logistik- och infrastrukturlösning för CCS med mellanlagring i Göteborgs hamn. I det norska ”Langskip” -initiativet går statlig finansiering till två planerade fullskaliga koldioxidavskiljningsanläggningar, där en andel av den koldioxid som kommer att avskiljas är biogen.
Langskip-projektet ansluter sig till ”Northern Lights”-initiativet för koldioxidtransport och -lagring. Den första fasen av Northern Lights kommer att slutföras i mitten av 2024 med en kapacitet att injicera upp till 1,5 miljoner ton koldioxid per år. Projektet har potential att öka transport- och lagringskapaciteten upp till 5 miljoner ton koldioxid per år och tillhandahålla en lagringslösning som blir tillgänglig för industrianläggningar runt om i Europa. Ytterligare lagringsprojekt är under utveckling i Danmark och på Island. I Danmark syftar Project Greensand till att ha en första brunn klar för injektion 2025 och planerna inkluderar att utveckla kapaciteten för att lagra cirka 3,5 miljoner ton koldioxid per år före 2030. På Island pågår förberedelser för en ny lagringsanläggning på land där koldioxid injiceras i basaltberggrunden. Målet är att starta kommersiell drift 2025 och nå fullskalig verksamhet med en årlig lagringskapacitet på tre miljoner ton koldioxid år 2030.
Det är således möjligt att hela BECCS-värdekedjan kan ha nått demonstration i full skala i Norden mot mitten av detta årtionde.
BECCS kräver stora kapitalinvesteringar och leder till ytterligare driftskostnader. Ett stort hinder för BECCS-implementering idag är frånvaron av ett värde kopplat till den utsläppsminskning som BECCS ger. Befintliga stöd inkluderar EU:s Innovationsfond, som tillhandahåller upp till 10 miljarder Euro under 2020–2030 för att stödja demonstration av innovativ koldioxidsnål teknik. För storskaliga projekt kommer Innovationsfonden att kunna bidra med stöd upp till 60 procent av tillkommande kapital- och driftskostnader. Men nuvarande styrmedel ger inte projektutvecklare tillräcklig avkastning på investeringar i BECCS. Ytterligare styrmedel kommer således att behövas. I Sverige pågår förberedelser för att införa ett system för driftstöd för BECCS baserat på omvända auktioner.
Kostnaderna för den infrastruktur för transport och lagring av koldioxid som krävs är för stora för att kunna bäras av en handfull BECCS-projekt – i synnerhet för tidiga pilotprojekt. I Norge går ett betydande statligt stöd till förverkligandet av infrastruktur för transport och lagring liksom till fullskalig avskiljning av koldioxid.
Koordinering är av central betydelse när de olika komponenterna i en BECCS-värdekedja utvecklas och stimuleras genom policy. Om något av antingen avskiljning, transport eller lagring inte går framåt riskerar det hela värdekedjans framgång eftersom operatörernas vilja att engagera sig och investera påverkas negativt om andra inte gör detsamma. Flera skäl talar för att regeringar bör ta en roll i samordningen av planering, design och investeringar över hela värdekedjan:
På regional skala kan samordning mellan grannländerna ge betydande fördelar.
Ett investeringshinder av en annan karaktär är bristen på bokföringsregler för BECCS som tillgodoser behovet av visshet avseende länken mellan borttagna ton koldioxid och ekonomiska incitament.
Begränsade privata investeringar i kombination med en allt starkare evidensbas för behovet av negativa utsläpp ger starka argument för statlig intervention. Tillgängliga alternativ för främjande av BECCS sträcker sig från stöd till forskning och innovation, vilket är särskilt viktigt för teknik som fortfarande befinner sig i ett tidigt utvecklingsstadium, till ekonomiska styrmedel och riskreducerande åtgärder. Dessutom kan stöd från den privata sektorn tillkomma i form av frivilliga åtaganden avseende CDR, såddfinansiering för CDR-startups och efterfrågan på CDR för frivillig klimatkompensation. Internationell samordning kommer att behövas för att upprätta bokföringsprotokoll och övervaknings-, rapporterings- och verifieringsstandarder för BECCS och för att utveckla robusta ramverk med hållbarhetskriterier.
På kort sikt är det troligt att det krävs någon form av statliga garantier avseende betalningar för negativa utsläpp. Styrmedel som bidrar till att kanalisera privat kapital till att betala för BECCS (som kvotförpliktelser eller införande av BECCS i EU:s utsläppshandelssystem) kan fasas in över tiden när BECCS har blivit mer etablerat. En strategi för sekvensering av styrmedel som är förutsägbar och hållbar över tiden kan vara lämplig. Beslutsfattare behöver då ta hänsyn till att kapaciteten att genomföra olika styrmedel ligger på olika nivåer (nationellt, EU, privata företag).
De ambitiösa mål för att uppnå nettonollutsläpp, och till och med netto-negativa växthusgasutsläpp, som de nordiska länderna har satt upp kan inte nås utan CDR i någon form. Potentialen för koldioxidavskiljning tillämpat på biogena utsläpp är dock ojämnt fördelad med en stor koncentration av stora punktutsläpp i Finland och Sverige. Potentialen för koldioxidavskiljning från biogena källor i dessa två länder överstiger ländernas respektive behov för att kompensera för territoriella residuala utsläpp. Det skulle därför vara fördelaktigt om dessa potentialer kunde dra nytta av stöd från andra nordiska länder som kan ha intresse av att tillgodoräkna sig negativa utsläpp mot sina respektive nettonollmål.
Reglerna i Parisavtalets artikel 6 är relevanta i detta sammanhang. Enligt artikel 6 kan ett land A bidra till att minska växthusgaser i land B och land A kan sedan göra anspråk på (hela eller delar av) det associerade resultatet mot sitt mål. För att undvika dubbelräkning krävs det enligt artikel 6 då att en så kallad "motsvarande justering" görs. En sådan justering innebär att för att det land som tar emot överföringen ska kunna räkna utsläppsminskningen som “sin” måste det land från vilket överföringen sker “avräkna” densamma.
Genom att fastställa vilka förutsättningar och krav som gäller vid överföringar mellan länder möjliggör artikel 6 etablering av växthusgasmarknader under Parisavtalet. En av artiklarna i artikel 6 - artikel 6.2 - ger möjlighet att etablera bilaterala eller plurilaterala samarbeten. Artikel 6.2 ger därmed de nordiska länderna möjlighet att gå före och visa vägen för hur växthusgasmarknader kan bidra till att möjliggöra högre ambition på klimatområdet. En artikel 6.2-baserad nordisk marknad för BECCS skulle kunna bidra till att påskynda nyttiggörandet av den nordiska BECCS-potentialen genom att koppla samman fysiska potentialer i enskilda nordiska länder med den sammantagna nordiska efterfrågan på negativa utsläpp. Med en sådan marknad vore det till exempel möjligt att genomföra gemensamma nordiska auktioner avseende negativa utsläpp genom BECCS.
Parisavtalets parter har ännu inte kommit överens om de detaljerade reglerna för artikel 6 och mycket av operationaliseringen av artikel 6 återstår. En nordisk pilot skulle därför även bidra med värdefulla lärdomar som i förlängningen kan skapa bättre förutsättningar för fungerande och trovärdiga marknadslösningar och därmed också en ökad ambitionsnivå globalt.
Rapporten föreslår följande prioriterade områden för nordiskt samarbete och samordning som kan ge betydelsefulla bidrag till utveckling och utbyggnad av BECCS och därmed till dess förmåga att leverera nödvändig borttagning av koldioxid.
De nordiska länderna kan överväga att etablera ”Market Makers” på nordisk nivå för att ta itu med många av de strukturella barriärer som bromsar utbyggnad av BECCS/CCS och det behov av samordning som finns för att övervinna dem. Genom att tillhandahålla en form av central planering kan Market Makers ge en viss säkerhet för utvecklare av koldioxidlager att koldioxid faktiskt kommer att avskiljas, och vice versa, och motverka suboptimering inom infrastrukturutveckling etc.
En gemensam nordisk marknad för negativa utsläpp genom BECCS kan erbjuda möjligheter att påskynda realiseringen av den nordiska BECCS-potentialen genom att fysiska potentialer i enskilda nordiska länder kopplas samman med en större nordisk efterfrågan på negativa utsläpp från BECCS. De nordiska regeringarna bör initialt gemensamt undersöka förutsättningarna för att etablera en nordiska BECCS-marknad inom ramen för Parisavtalets artikel 6.
De nordiska länderna kan överväga hur man kan underlätta för privata aktörer att hantera de höga kapitalkostnaderna och de kommersiella och tekniska riskerna som BECCS medför. Nordiska bidragsfinansieringsprogram kan potentiellt vara av intresse som ett komplement till befintliga bidragsmöjligheter. Gemensamma och/eller samordnade auktioner för negativa utsläpp genom BECCS inom ramen för en gemensam nordisk marknad (som bygger på artikel 6.2 i Parisavtalet) kan potentiellt ge en mer förutsägbar och tillförlitlig efterfrågesignal jämfört med när länder agerar individuellt. Nordiska länder bör samarbeta och delta aktivt i utvecklingen av EU-regelverk när det gäller skapande av incitament för negativa utsläpp genom BECCS. Incitament kan skapas genom en översyn av nuvarande klimatpolitiska instrument på EU-nivå (EU ETS, ESR, LULUCF) eller genom ett nytt regelverk utanför de nuvarande instrumenten. De nordiska länderna skulle dessutom kunna samarbeta för att utforma och testa åtgärder för att stimulera offentliga och privata kunders efterfrågan på och vilja att betala ett högre pris för råvaror och tjänster som är förknippade med negativa utsläpp.
De nordiska länderna kan överväga samordnade forskningsinsatser för att bygga kunskap som stödjer implementeringen av BECCS. Ett antal forskningsbehov med en nordisk dimension har tagits upp i intervjuerna och diskussionerna som ingår i detta arbete, till exempel: Hur olika industripolitiska prioriteringar mellan länder skapar hinder som kan hämma nordiskt industriellt samarbete och hur man kan övervinna dessa hinder; Institutionella krav för att möjliggöra utfärdande av BECCS "krediter" (ITMO) inom ett nordiskt artikel 6.2-samarbete, med beaktande av relevanta internationella regler enligt Parisavtalet; Möjligheter och hinder relaterade till nordiskt samarbete för att stimulera efterfrågan på råvaror och tjänster med låga koldioxidutsläpp, inklusive sådana som är förknippade med negativa utsläpp; FoUD-program som syftar till att ytterligare förbättra mogna avskiljningstekniker som är relevanta för BECCS i de nordiska länderna samt teknik och applikationer som fortfarande befinner sig på tidigare utvecklingsstadier.
|A/R||Afforestation and Reforestation|
|BECCS||Bioenergy with Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage|
|CCS||Carbon Capture and Storage|
|CCU||Carbon Capture and Utilisation|
|CCUS||Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage|
|CHP||Combined Heat and Power|
|CDR||Carbon Dioxide Removal|
|DACCS||Direct Air Carbon Capture with Storage|
|EOR||Enhanced Oil Recovery|
|ETS||Emissions Trading System|
|IAM||Integrated Assessment Model|
|IEA||International Energy Agency|
|ITMO||Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcome|
|IPCC||Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change|
|MRV||Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification|
|NDC||Nationally Determined Contribution|
|NET||Negative Emission Technology|
|NCM||Nordic Council of Ministers|
|PPP||Polluter Pays Principle|
|RD&D||Research, Development, and Demonstration|
|TRL||Technology Readiness Level|
Several Nordic countries and the EU have adopted targets to attain net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). To achieve these targets, it will be necessary to deploy technologies that achieve carbon dioxide removal (CDR). This is because there will be some residual emissions in hard-to-abate sectors that are challenging to mitigate that will need to be offset in order to reach net-zero. Bioenergy with carbon dioxide capture and geological storage (commonly referred to as “BECCS”) is a technology that can generate CDR. In this report, BECCS is defined as the capture of CO2 from a biomass conversion process producing electricity, heat, fuels and/or chemicals, followed by a storage in a manner intended to be permanent. The qualify as a Negative Emission Technology (NET), the total quantity of atmospheric CO2 removed and permanently stored must be greater than the total quantity of upstream and downstream GHG emissions and GHG emitted to the atmosphere from the conversion process.
This study shall describe market problems that inhibit the development and deployment of BECCS projects. The study shall, furthermore, analyse and propose initiatives that could support BECCS development and deployment in the Nordic countries.
More specifically the study aims to:
In order to place BECCS into context, this report begins by discussing the important role BECCS is foreseen to play for the attainment of ambitious climate targets (Section 2). The following sections presents the results of the study based on litterature review and interviews with key stakeholders in the Nordic countries. In the concluding section potential areas for cooperation among the Nordic countries are proposed.
The report has been written by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, coordinating partner (Kenneth Möllersten, project leader; Lars Zetterberg, and Tobias Nielsen), CICERO (Asbjörn Torvanger) and VTT (Hanne Siikavirta, Lauri Kujanpää and Ilkka Hannula).
The authors wish to thank Hanna-Mari Ahonen, Perspectives Climate Group, and the members of the project reference group, for valuable comments on drafts of the report.
To achieve the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit the increase of global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C, substantial amounts of CDR will be required (IPCC, 2018). The required level and timing of CDR necessitates near-term efforts to commercialise and gain experience in deployment of negative emission technology value chains.
The Paris Agreement has put in place a very ambitious long-term temperature goal, which requires that anthropogenic GHG emission sources and sinks are balanced by the second half of this century. However, sufficiently ambitious climate action by all countries has not been manifested through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement, meaning that there is a significant risk that more GHGs will be emitted than 1,5–2 °C target allow. Furthermore, there are emissions that are particularly challenging to abate, e.g. some industrial and agricultural GHG sources. Employed at a sufficiently large scale, CDR could eventually
BECCS can generate CDR provided that about as much CO2 is sequestered through re-growth of trees and plants for the bioenergy feedstock as is released during its combustion. 1.5 °C-consistent pathways assessed by the IPCC SR1.5 include CDR, primarily afforestation/reforestation (A/R) and BECCS, in the order of 0.5 billion tonnes CO2 globally in 2030 and 5 billion tonnes in 2050 (IPCC, 2018). Accumulated removals range from 100 to over 1000 billion tonnes by 2100. Yet, deployment and experience with NETs at large scale is quite limited and experts are increasingly emphasizing the need to understand the difference between the technical potentials and practical feasibility of individual NETs in a real world context (Minx, o.a., 2018; National Academies of Sciences, 2018).
Several authors have warned that if NETs are unsuccessful at removing CO2 from the atmosphere at the levels assumed in many scenarios, society will be locked into a high-temperature pathway (Fuss, o.a., 2014; Anderson & Peters, 2017). National and EU policies and regulations to stimulate development and deployment of CDR technologies are lagging, but in the making in some countries (Schenuit, o.a., 2021). An altered perspective on the role of NETs in climate change mitigation policy has been proposed to build on two main pillars: (i) earlier and more radical emission reductions than current mitigation scenarios suggest, and (ii) near-term development and ramping-up of NETs to clarify the actual potential and scaling properties of specific pilot technology options and to overcome deployment barriers (Bednar, Obersteiner, & Wagner, 2019).
The Nordic countries have set ambitious targets to achieve net-zero and even net-negative GHG emissions in line with the 1.5 °C pathway, both individually through various national goals and legislation, and jointly through the 2019 Helsinki Declaration on Nordic Carbon Neutrality (“the Declaration”). In this Declaration, the Prime Ministers declare that Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark want to lead by example and intensify cooperation, including on removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The Declaration underlines the important role of CO2 capture and storage (CCS), including BECCS technologies as well as the importance of resolving remaining technical challenges, and developing business models for their implementation.
Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) typically refers to the integration of
The potential of BECCS for climate change mitigation will be a function of a number of factors across the entire life cycle, from sustainable biomass growth and supply, efficient processing to energy and fuels, to how efficiently CO2 is captured and transported, as well as the integrity of long-term CO2 storage.
As already stated, the CDR (or “negative emissions”) potential of BECCS relies on the premise that about as much CO2 is sequestered through re-growth of trees and plants for the bioenergy feedstock as is released during its combustion (or other conversion). Consequently, the basis for BECCS’ capacity to deliver CDR relies on making the right choices along the biomass production and supply chain (Fajardy & Mac Dowell, 2018). Its capacity for CDR moreover depends on other factors related to its processing and conversion for energy production, global carbon cycle feedbacks, and the efficient capture and safe storage of CO2 (Torvanger, 2019).
On a general level, CCS is primarily suitable for large point sources of CO2 due to economies of scale. In a Nordic context Sweden and Finland stand out for their large number of large point sources of biogenic based CO2 emissions. The two countries have the highest percentage of forest land cover among European countries and a tradition of converting forest resources at large plants. The two main categories of facilities where relatively large point sources of biogenic CO2 can be found are:
Large biogenic CO2 sources in Finland and Sweden were mapped by Rodrigues, o.a. (2021). The study found that in 2017 there were 51 pulp mills and district heating plants in Sweden and Finland emitting at least 300 000 tonnes CO2 per year (Figure 1). Their collective emissions added up to approximately 46 million tonnes CO2 and 18 of the facilities emitted at least 1 million tonnes CO2 annually. Some large point sources of biogenic CO2 can also be found in the other Nordic countries.
Figure 1. Map of facilities in Finland and Sweden emitting more than 300 000 tonnes CO2 per year (Rodrigues, o.a., 2021).
The availability of infrastructure to transport CO₂ safely and reliably from the point of capture to the storage site is an essential factor in enabling the deployment of BECCS. Compression and liquefaction of the gas prior to transport increases the density and thus allows cheaper transportation and more CO2 to be sequestered. CO2 transport is the most mature part of the BECCS value chain, the two main options for the large-scale transport of CO₂ being pipeline and ship (International Energy Agency, 2020). Long-range CO2 transportation infrastructure has not been developed in the Nordics with one exception: Norway hosts an offshore CO2 pipeline (153-kilometre offshore pipeline for the Snøhvit CO2 storage facility). The shipping of CO2 has been practiced for over 30 years, but the size of the industry is small and entirely connected to the food and beverage sector. Large-scale transportation of CO2 by ship has not yet been demonstrated but would have similarities to the shipping of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) (International Energy Agency, 2020). According to Levin, o.a. (2019) CO2 transport contracting is readily available and the choice of transport system is to a large extent a matter of logistics optimization.
Hybrid systems are also possible, in which regional emissions are collected in transport hubs. For example, the Carbon Infrastructure Capture (CinfraCap) project aims at generating a more comprehensive picture of the logistics chain required to transport captured CO2 from different industrial facilities in western Sweden – from liquefication and intermediate storage, through distribution to ships and onward transport to the final storage site. The idea is to present concrete proposals for an optimised infrastructure, and link to other CCS projects. Once the infrastructure is in place, the aim is for it to be an open access system, expanding its potential user base. CinfraCap is a collaborative venture between several entities including Nordion Energi, Göteborg Energi, Renova, Gothenburg Port Authority, Preem, and St1.
Final storage is achieved by injecting CO2 down a well into a geologic formation that is deep enough for the CO2 to remain as a supercritical fluid, typically 1000 meters or more.
Several of the proposed offshore CO2 storage projects in Europe (see immediately below) are planning to use shipping rather than pipelines as the primary form of transport. This could provide valuable flexibility in linking storage to sources of CO2 (International Energy Agency, 2020).
The number of CCS projects under development in Europe are increasing, including several targeting industrial hubs:
Langskip CCS project, Norway: This project consists of two industrial CO2 sources where full-scale CO2 capture facilities will be built: Fortum Oslo Varme (waste-to-energy) and Norcem Brevik (cement production; part of HeidelbergCement). The Norcem Brevik project is financed by government, whereas government financing of half the cost of the Fortum Oslo Varme project is settled, but contingent on financing of the other half from other sources. Transport and storage of the gas under the North Sea seabed is to be handled by the Northern Lights consortium (Equinor, Shell and Total, with government support). Phase one of Northern Lights will be completed in mid-2024 with a capacity of up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The project has the potential to increase the transport and storage capacity up to 5 million tonnes CO2 per year (total storage capacity is around 100 million tonnes), and provide an open acces storage solution for industrial facilities around Europe (Government of Norway, 2021; Northern lights, 2021).
The Greensand carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, Denmark: The project is backed by a consortium comprising Ineos Oil & Gas Denmark, Wintershall Dea and Maersk Drilling. The project has secured DNV GL’s certification of feasibility for the storage of CO2 at the Nini West reservoir in the Danish North Sea by reusing discontinued offshore oil fields. The Nini West field has been deemed suitable for injecting 450 000 tonnes of CO2 per year per well for a 10-year period. Project Greensand aims to have the first well ready for injection in 2025, and the consortium aims to develop the capacity to store around 3.5 million tonnes per year before 2030 (Maersk drilling, 2020).
Porthos, the Netherlands: Within the Porthos Project, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and two state-owned energy companies have joined forces to develop CO2 storage of 2 to 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year below the North Sea seabed. The storage capacity could be increased to up to 10 million tonnes per year or more, enabling the site to store CO2 coming from other European countries (Porthos development C.V., 2021).
Net Zero Teesside, United Kingdom: This project is an integrated CCUS project aiming to store up to 10 million tonnes CO2 per year from a number of energy-intensive industries located in Teesside. It is predicted that the project should be up and running by the middle of the 2020s. The storage site, with capacity of at least 1 000 Gt, would be located offshore in the North Sea (Net Zero Teesside, 2021).
In addition to the geological CO2 storage projects mentioned, preparations are underway for a new onshore CO2 mineral storage facility in Iceland (Carbfix, 2021). The company Carbfix stated in April 2021 that preparations are underway for a terminal based in the bay of Straumsvík where there is already an industrial port. The terminal is planned to be able to receive carbon dioxide transported by ship, and the CO2 will then be injected into the basaltic bedrock, where it eventually turns into solid minerals in less than two years. The plans include a preparation phase to begin in 2021 with engineering and permitting processes. Drilling of the first wells is to start in 2022, with the aim of starting operations in 2025 and reaching full-scale operations by 2030. At full scale, the so-called “Coda Terminal” is expected to be able to provide an annual storage of three million tonnes of CO2. Total investment is estimated in the range of 190–220 million Euros, including operating expenses and capital expenditures. The Coda Terminal is the first planned large-scale geological storage project in Europe that is carried out onshore.
Leakage of CO2 from storage could seriously compromise the strategy’s long-term potential. Long-term stewardship of storage sites is therefore of utmost importance for the environmental integrity of BECCS (as well as for CCS applied to emissions from fossil fuels) (Cusack, o.a., 2014). The experience with geological sequestration of CO2 is so far good.One million tonnes of CO2 have been injected annually into a sandstone formation (aquifer) by Equinor (former Statoil) since 1996 at the Sleipner platform in the North Sea. The CO2 is separated from the natural gas extracted to make the gas of commercial quality.
There are several potential biomass-to-energy technologies, some of which are commercial. Across the full range, technologies are at varying levels of development (Yan, 2015; National Academies of Sciences, 2018; Royal Society, 2018). Combustion-based biomass power or CHP production is commercially deployed across the world. Fermentation-based bio-ethanol production is also deployed commercially globally. Both these technologies can be combined with commercially available post-combustion CO2 capture technologies or with other emerging CO2 capture technologies that have not yet reached commercial stage. Further commercialisation of emerging biomass-to-energy technologies, such as gasification technologies with power or fuel production, would enable additional CO2 capture technologies to be deployed and, therewith, make a wider range of BECCS configurations available (National Academies of Sciences, 2018).
Technologies for CO2 capture from gas streams is well established in some applications (Bui, o.a., 2018; IEAGHG, 2019; Johnsson & Kjärstad, 2019; International Energy Agency, 2020). Post-combustion capturePost-combustion capture is when CO2 is separated from the flue gases after the combustion of a fuel. is a mature capture technology and the processes involved have been applied in some industrial applications for many years. Post-combustion capture based on chemical absorption is applied in a number of relatively large-scale CCS projects around the world (Global CCS Institute, 2021), mainly to power plants, and therefore features proven technologies.
In total there were 26 commercial CCS projects in operation around the world in 2020 with a total capture capacity of around 40 million tonnes CO2 per year (Global CCS Institute, 2021). Most of them are associated to Enhanced Oil RecoveryEOR is the extraction of crude oil from an oil field that cannot easily be extracted otherwise. It can be achieved by forcefully injecting gas (most often CO2) into the well in a way that both forces the oil to the surface and reduces its viscosity. EOR is foremost an oil technology and less of a CCS technology since a reservoir can hold much more CO2 than what is profitable to inject to produce more oil, and since more oil is produced that will generate CO2 when combusted. (EOR).
BECCS is already operating in the biofuel production sector. There are currently more than ten facilities capturing CO2 from bioenergy production around the world (Table 1). So far, most of the completed or operating projects involve ethanol plants. The Russel CO2 injection plant in Kansas, USA was the earliest completed demonstration, sequestering a total 7.7000 tonnes of CO2 between 2003 and 2005. The Illinois Industrial CCS Project (previously known as Illinois Basin - Decatur Project), with a capture capacity of 1 million tonnes CO2 annually, is the largest and the only project with dedicated CO2 storage (Finley, 2014), while other projects use the captured CO2 for EOR or other uses or vents the captured CO2. More recently, the Mikawa Post Combustion Capture Demonstration Plant in Japan launched the operation of a CO2 capture demonstration facility in a biomass-fired power plant in 2020 with a 180 000 tonnes CO2 annual capacity. The project previously developed a small-scale pilot CCS unit (3 000 tonnes CO2 per year) for coal-biomass co-fired power generation.
Upcoming BECCS projects (Table 2) includes Norway’s ‘Langskip’ full-scale CCS project, which aims to implement CCS for a cement plant that uses biomass for over 30 percent of its fuel consumption and for a waste-to-energy plant, projected to store 800 000 tonnes CO2 per year in asub-seabed storage site in the North Sea. Following demonstration with pilot plants in the Norcem Brevik’s cement plant and Fortum Oslo Varme’s waste-to-energy plant, ’Langskip’ is expected to start operating by 2024. The Drax bioenergy carbon capture storage project, UK, aims to sequester 4 million tonnes of CO2 per year in a coal and biomass power plant, also under the North Sea seabed. Stockholm Exergi, Sweden, aims to capture approximately 850 000 tonnes CO2 per year in a biomass-fired CHP plant, to be shipped for geological storage offshore in Norway or elsewhere. Other upcoming BECCS projects related to ethanol production include the Occidental/White Energy project in Texas, US, which aims to sequester emissions from an ethanol plant at 600–700 000 tonnes CO2 per year for EOR, and the CPER Artenay project in France and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
As mentioned above, post-combustion capture using chemical solvents is currently the only technology with a potential to be viable for large-scale application, especially when retrofitting existing plants. The other capture technologies are either less mature, have not been tested at scale or would require that existing industry processes are replaced or redesigned (Johnsson & Kjärstad, 2019), thus making it more difficult to assess their cost and technical performance as well as to cover the cost of capture..
Carbon capture technologies have been developed to be used with fossil fuel feedstocks. While biomass is similar to coal in terms of basic composition, the different properties of biofuels compared to fossil fuels, such as moisture, can clearly change the performance of the technologies. A number of related knowledge gaps remain which magnify the uncertainties regarding the cost of BECCS (Li, o.a., 2019).
Pipeline use is the mode of CO2 transport that is the most mature. There are more than 6500 km of CO2 pipelines worldwide (both on- and off-shore), most of which are associated with EOR operation in the United States (Bui, o.a., 2018). Liquefied CO2 is currently transported by sea tankers, albeit at a relatively modest trade and in comparatively small quantities of around 2,000 tonnes (IEA GHG, 2020). Moreover, the transport of gaseous and liquid fossil fuels in pipelines and ships is common.
The injection and sequestration of CO2 at rates over 1 million tonnes CO2 per year at individual sites is technically viable, demonstrated by 14 currently operating industrial scale projects, including three injecting CO2 into saline aquifer systems. CO2 storage research has progressed significantly over the last decade. The technical feasibility of CO2 storage has been demonstrated through a number of industrial scale projects, while most being EOR projects (Bui, o.a., 2018).
Technologies for CO2 storage monitoring was originally developed for the petroleum industry. Further development of monitoring instruments is required to enable quantitative predictions of the amount of CO2 stored, the extent of plume migration, geophysical saturation, and the extent of chemical and physical trapping and dissolution processes related to CO2. Leak detection has not been a major concern for the petroleum sector, and advances in leak detection and remediation alternatives is required to ensure the permanency of CO2 storage.
Table 1. Bioenergy with CCS/CCU projects, completed or currently operating worldwide (International Energy Agency, 2020; Consolli, 2019).
|Plant||Country||Sector||CO2 storage or use||Start-up year||CO2 capture capacity (kt/year)|
|Russel CO2 injection plant||US||Ethanol production||EOR||2003–2005||3,85|
|Arkalon CO2 compression facility||US||Ethanol production||EOR||2009||290|
|Organic Carbon Dioxide for Assimilation of Plants||NL||Ethanol and Oil Refinery||Use||2011||400|
|Bonanza BioEnergy CCUS EOR||US||Ethanol production||EOR||2012||100|
|Husky energy CO2 injection||Canada||Ethanol production||EOR||2012||90|
|Calgren renewable fuels CO2 recovery plant||US||Ethanol production||Use||2015||150|
|Lantmännen agroetanol||Sweden||Ethanol production||Use||2015||200|
|AlcoBioFuel bio-refinery CO2 recovery plant||Belgium||Ethanol production||Use||2016||100|
|Cargill wheat processing||UK||Ethanol production||Use||2016||100|
|Illinois Industrial Carbon||US||Ethanol production||Dedicated storage||2017||1000|
|Capture and Storage||2011–2014||300|
|Saga city waste incineration plant||Japan||Waste-to-energy||Use||2016||3|
|Mikawa post-combustion capture plant||Japan||Power generation||Vented2||2020||180|
|Saint-Felicien Pulp Mill and Greenhouse Carbon Capture Project||Canada||Pulp and paper||Use||2018||11|
|1 The OCAP plant receives its CO2 from multiple sources and only part of the total CO2 qualifies as bioenergy with CCU.|
2 Tamme, E. Global CCS Institute. Personal communication. 26 March, 2021.
Table 2. Planned BECCS projects (various sources).
|Plant||Country||Sector||CO2 storage||Development stage |
|CO2 capture capacity (kt/year)|
|Stockholm Exergi BECCS project1||Sweden||CHP||Vented||Pilot (2019)||-|
|Sub-seabed, North sea||Large (planned 2025)||850|
|Drax BECCS plant1||UK||Power generation (coal and biomass)||Vented||Pilot (2018)||-|
|Sub-seabed, North sea||Large-scale (2027)||4000|
|Norway ’Langskip’||Norway||Cement plant and waste-to energy plant||Sub-seabed, North Sea||Large-scale (2023–2024)||800 ( 20–50% biogenic)|
|Vented||Demonstration and pilots at Norcem Brevik’s cement plant (2013) and Fortum Oslo Varme’s waste-to-energy plant (2019)||-|
|Occidental/White Energy||US||Ethanol||EOR||In evaluation||600–700|
|CPER Artenay project||France||Ethanol||Dogger and Keuper saline aquifers,Paris Basin||Development Planning||45|
|Sao Paulo||Brazil||Ethanol||Saline aquifer||In evaluation||1–5|
|Helsinki||Finland||Bio-heat||-||BECCS-ready, under construction||-|
|1 CO2 is vented after its capture as part of research/pilot trials, but the long-term plan is to focus on offshore permanent storage.|
Technology readiness levels (TRLs) is a method used for estimating the maturity of technologies. A scale from 1 to 9 is usually used with 1 being concept of a technology and 9 denoting normal commercial service. For further details refer to, e.g., European Commission (2017). Technologies with TRL 6 and above have achieved demonstration with prototypes that are fully functional. The closer the technology is to TRL 9, the easier to deploy and the greater the number of suppliers (IEAGHG, 2019). IEA (2020) argue, however, that arriving at a stage where a technology can be considered commercially available (TRL 9) is not sufficient to describe its readiness to meet energy policy objectives, for which scale is often crucial. For this reason, the IEA proposes to extend the TRL scale to incorporate two additional levels of readiness: one where the technology is commercial and competitive but needs further innovation efforts for the technology to be integrated into energy systems and value chains when deployed at scale (TRL 10), and a final one where the technology has achieved predictable growth (TRL 11).
Table 3 summarises TRL of key technologies in the BECCS value chain based on a recent assessment by the IEA on the basis of the modified TRL scale (level 1–11) described above.
|Ethanol from lignocellulose with carbon capture||5–6 (Large prototype)|
|Biomethane with carbon capture||7–8 (Demonstration)|
|Ethanol from sugar/starch with carbon capture||7–8|
|Biomass power with chemical absorption||7–8|
|Pipeline transportation||11 (Mature)|
|Ship||Port to port||7–8|
|Port to offshore||5–6|
|Storage||EOR (oil reservoirs)||11|
|Saline formations (sandstone; aquifers)||9–10 (Early adoption)|
|Depleted oil and gas reservoirs||7–8|
Table 3. Technology Readiness Levels.
The cost of capturing CO2 can vary significantly, mainly according to the concentration of CO2 in the gas stream from which it is being captured, the plant’s location and related logistical prerequisites for CO2 transportation and storage, energy and steam supply, and integration with the original facility. On a general level CCS is primarily suitable for large point sources of CO2 due to economies of scale.
IEA (Energy technology perspectives 2020 - Special report on carbon capture, utilisation and storage, 2020) reports that capture from fuel transformation processes (such as bioethanol production from sugar or starch) or biomass gasification (where only pre-treatment and compression are needed to capture CO2) are the cheapest at present, with capture costs ranging from about USD 15 to 30 USD per tonne CO2. Capture in biomass-based power generation costs around USD 60 per tonne, while BECCS applied to industrial processes has a capture cost of around USD 80 per tonne.
The results of some recent Nordic BECCS feasibility studies based on real life conditions are summarised below:
Stockholm Exergi, the largest actor in the Stockholm multi-energy system, estimated the cost of BECCS in the existing Stockholm Värtan CHP plant to Euro 60–93 per tonne CO2 assuming geological storage in Norway (Levihn, Linde, Gustafsson, & Dahlén, 2019). The plant capacity would be approximately 850 000 tonnes CO2 per year. The study assumed post-combustion capture, transportation by ship, and storage in Norway.
A study by the utility Vattenfall (2020) addressed how BECCS could practically be implemented in the Uppsala energy system. The study concluded that post-combustion capture would be the most feasible approach. A solution was proposed in which BECCS can be integrated into the system of the Uppsala waste-to-energy CHP plant. The results indicate a capacity to capture approximately 200 000 tonnes CO2 per year of which approximately three quarters biogenic. The total cost of BECCS was estimated to be approximately Euro 90 per tonne CO2 including transportation and geological storage in Norway.
The pulp and paper sector uses large amounts of wood-based feedstock and chemical pulp mills are the largest source of large point sources of biogenic CO2 emissions in the Nordic region (Rodrigues, o.a., 2021). The cost of CCS in Nordic pulp and paper mills has been estimated in a number of recent studies (Skagestad, Haugen, & Mathisen, 2015; Onarheim, Santos, Kangas, & Hankalin, 2017; Garðarsdóttir, Normann, Skagestad, & Johnsson, 2018). Summing the estimated cost of capture, transportation, and storage results in a range from approximately Euro 70 to 120 per tonne CO2.
The renewable materials company Stora Enso investigated the possibility and cost of implementation BECCS in its Skutskär (Sweden) kraft pulp mill (Stora Enso AB, 2020). The study concluded that it is possible to install BECCS with a capacity of 1 million tonnes CO2 annually (all biogenic). The total cost for CO2 capture, transportation and storage is estimated to be within the range of Euro 90 to 110 per tonne.
Negative CO2 project funded by Nordic Energy Research and participating companies modelled chemical-looping combustion of biomass (Bio-CLC) that could provide relatively low-cost negative CO2 emissions. Bio-CLC units as a part of a city-level district heating and cooling grid was modelled based on literature and experimental work with Bio-CLC pilot plants. According to the modelling, profitability (10% IRR) could be reached at a net income of around Euro 10 per tonne CO2 captured (Lindroos et al., 2019).
The share of pipeline transportation in the total cost of a CCS project varies according to the quantity transported as well as the diameter, length and materials used in building the pipeline. There are strong economies of scale based on pipeline capacity, with unit costs decreasing significantly with rising CO2 capacity. Pipeline transport costs are dominated by capital cost (IEA GHG, 2020).
In most cases, transport represents well under one-quarter of the total cost of CCS projects. Pipelines located in remote and sparsely populated regions cost about 50–80 percent less than in highly populated areas. Offshore pipelines can be 40–70 percent more expensive than the onshore pipelines.
As an example, IEA (Energy technology perspectives 2020 - Special report on carbon capture, utilisation and storage, 2020) estimates costs for 250 km transportation ranging from USD 2–12 per tonne CO2 for onshore pipelines and USD 2–16 per tonne CO2 for offshore pipelines. The low-end cost represents a CO2 flow rate of 30 million tonnes per year while the high-end cost is for 3 million tonnes per year. This clearly demonstrates the significant economies of scale in pipeline transport.
Shipping CO2 by sea may be viable for regional CCS clusters and adds flexibility (Bui, o.a., 2018). Shipping can thus be the cheapest option for long-distance transport of small volumes of CO2 (up to around 2 million tonnes per year). This is relevant in the Nordic context considering the CO2 flow rates of the potential capture sites and that the point sources are along the coast lines and often apart. According to the IEA (Energy technology perspectives 2020 - Special report on carbon capture, utilisation and storage, 2020) the shipping cost may be estimated to start at USD 20/tCO2 for short distances and slowly increase to between USD 25–30 for a transportation distance of 1000 km. Carbofix (2021) projects that shipping of CO2 from different locations in Norther Europe to Iceland will cost between Euro 20 and 50 depending on distance and size of vessel.
Generally, CO2 storage costs are expected to be low relative to CO2 capture. Current and estimated CO2 storage costs vary significantly depending on the rate of CO2 injection, showing economies of scale properties, and the characteristics of the storage reservoirs, as well as the location of CO2 storage sites. The cost of developing new sites, especially where CO2 storage has not been carried out before, is uncertain, particularly with regard to the effect of reservoir properties and characteristics.
More than half of onshore storage in the United States is estimated to be below USD 10/tCO2, which would typically represent only a minor part of the overall cost of a CCS project. Depleted oil and gas reservoirs using existing wells are expected to be the cheapest storage option. About half of offshore storage is estimated to be available at costs below USD 35/tCO2. Similar cost curves are expected to apply in other regions, but further research is needed to confirm this (International Energy Agency, 2020). Carbofix (2021) reports that current best estimates for the cost of CO2 storage in Iceland range from Euro 9 to 16 per tonne.
This section presents the result of a mapping of ongoing significant research programmes and concrete initiatives aimed at developing BECCS pilots in the Nordic countries. The mapping also includes other initiatives that may contribute significantly to the realisation of BECCS.
The information has been gathered through a review of information that is available through the web, publicly available documents, and through contacts with research funding agencies and other governmental organisations.
Negative emission technology is presented as key technology for delivering on Danish ambition of a 70 percent reduction target.According to the Danish Climate Act, passed by the parliament in 2020, Denmark works to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent in 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The adopted Green Research Strategy lists a number of themes for green research and innovation, including effective solutions for carbon capture and storage that can be applied to reducing CO2 emissions and creating negative emissions from large industrial emitters, waste incineration plants, biogas plants and biomass based CHPs (Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy, and Utilities, 2020).
The Geological Survey of Denmark funds research that covers the development of cost-effective carbon capture technology, mapping of transport options between source, utilisation and storage in Denmark, potential for storage of CO2 in the Danish underground, including safety aspects, and other areas. The research initiatives are part of an overall effort to build a Danish CCUS-centre.
Amager Resource Center (ARC) partnering with Ramboll, Union Engineering and others are developing Denmark’s first pilot CCS project to capture CO2 from the incineration plant Amager Bakke. This will include CO2 capture, transport and storage in North Sea oil/gas field. Operationalisation of the pilot project is planned for 2022. Full scale, potentially capturing 450.000 tonnes CO2 annually, is planned for 2025.
Finland aims to be carbon neutral by 2035. The Climate Change Act is being reformed and strengthened to achieve this target. Finland’s National long-term strategyNational long-term strategy of Finland. https://ec.europa.eu/clima/sites/lts/lts_fi_fi.pdf includes two scenarios and states that the most important technological assumption is related to application of CCS. One of the scenarios does not include any CCS, but in the other scenario BECCS has an important role. A national climate and energy strategy is under preparation.
Sectoral low-carbon roadmaps summarised by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment include references to CCS and CCU as technological solutions in several industry sectors (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, 2021).
A 260 MW bioheat plant currently under construction in Helsinki by Helen will be BECCS-ready.
A number of pilot projects involving the use of captured CO2 for synthetic fuels have been carried out or are in the planning phase. The CO2 used comes from various sources (fossil and biogenic). Ongoing research projects focus mainly on utilisation of CO2. CCS (including BECCS), including at the Nordic level, was studied in the CCSP project, which was carried out 2011–2016.http://ccspfinalreport.fi/
In the CarbFix and CarbFix2 projects, Reykjavik Energy captures CO2 from the Hellishedi geothermal plant. CO2-rich (soda) water is injected into basalt formations for permanent storage through natural mineralization. Later direct air CO2 capture machines from Climeworks were added to the project. In April 2021 plans were announced for a new onshore CO2 mineral storage facility in Iceland (Carbfix, 2021) including a terminal planned to be able to receive carbon dioxide transported by ship (see Chapter 3).
The Research Council of Norway (RCN) funds a number of research projects addressing various technical aspects along the CCS value chain (including improved capture technologies, implications of impurities, and simulation of geological CO2 storage). Notably RCN funds (2016–2024) the Norwegian CCS Research Centre (NCCS) which is a broad research centre on the role of CCS to fulfil the Paris Agreement, including storage under the North Sea seabed, and establishing a full-scale CCS chain.
‘Langskip’ is the Norwegian government’s new CCS initiative, consisting of funding a full-scale CO2 capture plant at Norcem Heidelberg Cement AS, Brevik, and conditional half funding of Fortum Oslo Varme’s waste-to-energy plant. Norcem will get close to full government funding of a CO2 capture plant. The share of total CO2 emissions that may become part of a CO2 negative value chain is around 20 percent. Fortum Oslo Varme’s emissions are around 50 percent biogenic. Provided that remaining funding is secured, CCS operation could start 2026 with approximately 200 000 tonnes CO2 captured per year from waste of biogenic origin. Langskip connects to the ‘Northern Lights’ CO2 transport and storage initiative (see Chapter 3). Once captured, CO2 will be shipped to a terminal at the Western coast of Norway, before being piped to a platform in the North Sea and injected into a geological formation 2–3 km under the seabed. This infrastructure has sufficient capacity to handle much larger volumes of CO2, where the expectation is that an operational infrastructure will stimulate CCS investments in other European counties and an interest in latching onto this infrastructure.
In the 2021 state budget, the government has allocated funding to develop hydrogen production from natural gas in combination with CCS, with the aim to most emissions with the help of CO2 capture. The funding will be for technology development, pilot plants and development of a full value chain for hydrogen production.
The national research programme on climate hosted by the research council for sustainable development (FORMAS) funds a number of projects aimed at broadening and deepening knowledge related to the potential of achieving large-scale negative emissions.
The “Industrial Leap Programme”, which is operated by the Swedish Energy Agency (SEA), provides funding for innovation projects to reduce process-related industrial GHG emissions, including CCS. Eligible projects may include research, feasibility studies, and investments for pilot and demonstration projects. Part of the budget (“Industrial Leap Programme – Negative emissions”) is earmarked for projects that target the capture, transport and geological or other permanent storage of biogenic CO2 or CO2 that has been separated from the air. The programme has funded a BECCS pilot and a number of feasibility studies for BECCS projects, see Table 4.
Table 4. Pilots and feasibility studies (BECCS) funded by the Industrial Leap Programme
|Stockholm Exergi||In 2019 the company built a smaller testing facility to evaluate post combustion capture using hot potassium carbonate as chemical solvent applied to flue gases from its Stockholm CHP plant. Having finalized the test runs, Stockholm Exergi is running a second round of trials and taking further steps towards investing in a full-scale BECCS plant. The aim is to have a fully functional BECCS plant in 2025.|
|Vattenfall||A completed feasibility identified CCS applied to emissions from the waste-to-energy blocks in Uppsala as the preferred solution. The solution involves capturing approximately 200 000 tonnes of CO2 per year (150 000 tonnes biogenic). In October 2020 Vattenfall announced that a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed with Norwegian Aker Carbon Capture to accelerate the evaluation of future carbon capture plants in Sweden and Northern Europe. The agreement will support Vattenfall´s ambitions “to achieve negative emissions in waste and bio CCS plants”.|
|Stora Enso||The renewable materials company Stora Enso initiated a conceptual study investigating BECCS applied in the Skutskär Kraft pulp mill, at the Swedish Baltic sea coast. The target of the study was to identify technical solutions and calculate the full chain cost for capture, transport and storage of about 1 million tonnes CO annually. Funding was also received for a second phase study to be finalised 2021, looking further into energy integration in order to take one step further towards full scale deployment of BECCS in a Kraft pulp mill.|
|Mälarenergi, Söderenergi, Växjö energi.||The companies have received funding for BECCS feasibility studies for their respective energy plants.|
|Energiforsk||The Energiforsk research institute in collaboration with universities, research institutes, and a number of district heating companies received funding to elaborate on a roadmap for BECCS in the Swedish district heating sector.|
In the “CinfraCap” project the aim is to evaluate the feasibility of establishing an optimal regional logistics and infrastructure solution for CCS on a larger, industrial scale including intermediate storage at the port of Gothenburg prior to shipping (for further information, see Chapter 3).
Sweden’s climate policy framework states that Sweden is to have net-zero GHG emissions by 2045 and net-negative emissions thereafter. A governmental enquiry (Statens offentliga utredningar, 2020) proposed that alongside deep emission cuts, a strategy to achieve the mitigation targets should include BECCS with the milestone targets 2 million tonnes CO2 in 2030 and 3–10 million tonnes in 2045.
In the budget proposal for 2021 the Swedish Energy Agency is tasked to establish a national centre for CCS. The Agency is, furthermore, assigned to prepare an incentive system for BECCS, based on reverse auctions for negative emissions, to be launched 2022.
In 2020 Sweden decided to ratify the change to the London Protocol that enables export of CO2 to be geologically stored below the seabed.
The deployment of BECCS faces multiple barriers, some of which are intertwined. The barriers are related to technical challenges, economic challenges, and lacking incentives for BECCS in the current climate policy framework. Below is a summary of key deployment barriers identified through a literature survey and interviews.
The CO2 transport and storage infrastructure required for BECCS (which is the same as for CCS applied to fossil emissions) represents up-front costs too large to be borne by a handful of BECCS projects and are particularly daunting for initial CO2 capture projects. The risk involved in large investments in CCS and BECCS infrastructure and the need to coordinate investments along the different components of the value chain to benefit from economies of scale, a rational system design and avoiding possible ‘hold-up’ problems and secure free access to transportation and storage services, speak in favour of governments taking a role in coordinating design, investments and ownership across the value chain. At regional scale coordination between neighbouring countries could also be beneficial. Thus the same arguments used for government coordination of fundamental societal infrastructure such as power grid, cellular phone communication, water supply and railroads, are also relevant for CCS and BECCS value chains.Irrespective of the mode of transport (i.e. ship or pipeline or a combination of these) a national or regional CO2 transportation infrastructure would need to be capable of safely handling millions of tonnes of captured CO2 annually. Planning and coordination of such an infrastructure will involve overcoming significant barriers associated with risk and uncertainty (IEAGHG, 2019). Planning, investment and development will eventually need to be commenced independently of individual capture projects. Early groundwork would include (Rootzen, Kjärstad, Johnsson, & Karlsson, 2018):
• Feasibility and routing studies to dimension the infrastructure.
• Inventory of potential areas of national interests for CO2 infrastructure, e.g. harbours, hubs, pipelines, intermediate storage (cf. existing dedicated areas of national interest for energy production, wind power, energy distribution).
• Developing a strategy for ramping-up transportation and storage capacity over time.
• Long term signals and incentives for potential transport operators (that would own and oversee the everyday operation of the transportation infrastructure).
Suitable sites for geological storage of CO2 need to fulfil several specific requirements, such as overall storage potential, injection capacity, and the long-term integrity of the geological formation. CO2 storage furthermore requires preparations of institutional arrangements that would govern roles and responsibilities with regards to, for example, access and costs for companies that demand transportation and storage services, enforcement of monitoring and verification of the storage site, and long-term liability.
Public support for such infrastructure is generally considered important including economic support and coordination of actors (European Academies Science Advisory Council, 2018; IEAGHG, 2019; International Energy Agency, 2020). Unless the transport and storage infrastructures are run by a public operator, separate business cases are needed for each of these operations. Ultimately it is a political choice what type of operation model to pursue.
Finally, for entities that may rely on other countries’ infrastructure to make use of carbon capture and storage, not being captive to single operators with monopolistic market power is in their interests (Levihn, Linde, Gustafsson, & Dahlén, 2019).
Challenges related to the infrastructure were mentioned also in the interviews. For example there are no storage possibilities in Finland and infrastructure needs would be different between various locations.
Potential conflicts concerning competition between different sectors for feedstock and competition for available land with other ecosystem services, such as food production have often been raised in relation to global scenarios with large-scale deployment of BECCS (Bui, o.a., 2018). This could, e.g., raise concerns around the sustainability of large-scale biomass imports.
One way to avoid adverse side effect would be to limit biomass use to feedstock from sustainably managed forests and/or to feedstocks that either would be wasted or is grown in excess of what would have grown absent the demand for bioenergy (Rootzen, Kjärstad, Johnsson, & Karlsson, 2018), but this could significantly constrain the potential of BECCS. Nordic BECCS will mainly be based on already existing biomass consumption for pulp, heat and power from sustainably managed forests. Additional biomass consumption will be due to the energy penalty associated with BECCS. Broader externalities and risks can also have impact on public acceptance of BECCS. According to interviews this may cause barriers, but the current status of public acceptance is not known and it is hard to anticipate. Gough & Mander (2019), however, argue that awareness of the scale and urgency needed to act on climate change is becoming more widespread, which comes along with a recognition that systemic change is needed—even with the potential to deliver CDR from approaches such as BECCS.
BECCS is still at demonstration or early commercialization stages of identifying and overcoming technical problems - in particular, the loss of efficiency in the overall conversion of biomass to useful energy (European Academies Science Advisory Council, 2018; National Academies of Sciences, 2018; Bui, o.a., 2018; International Energy Agency, 2020). Application of the most mature CO2 capture technologies to combined heat and power plants or industrial facilities involves integration challenges. For BECCS more generally, integrating the entire value chain needs demonstration at large scale (Johnsson & Kjärstad, 2019; Statens offentliga utredningar, 2020). In addition, less mature technologies offer opportunities for step-wise cost reduction, but still require significant development to reach commercialisation (Kearns, Liu, & Consolly, 2021). Lack of information/knowledge and experience on BECCS was mentioned also as a barrier in the interviews.
Thus, a successful rollout of BECCS at large scale towards the middle of this century requires extensive RD&D efforts in the coming decade to enable the most suitable capture technologies for different applications, to decrease technological uncertainty and to minimize the cost per tonne of CO2. As there is a substantial risk that individual technologies will not become viable or reach a mature stage, mitigation and absorption of risks are critical and there is a need for governments to increase spending on these technologies (Jeffery, Höhne, Moisio, Day, & Lawless, 2020; International Energy Agency, 2020). The development of new technologies usually requires stable and predictable funding for an extended period to prevent RD&D efforts being stranded in the ‘valley of death’ before commercialisation (Torvanger & Meadowcroft, 2011).
High cost is one of the main barriers to widespread deployment of BECCS and CCS in general. BECCS requires large up-front capital for investments and gives rise to substantial operational costs (foremost energy costs). Since negative emissions come with a cost it needs to be incentivised by attributing negative emissions with an economic value (Burke, Byrnes, & Fankhauser, 2019; Zetterberg, Johnsson, & Möllersten, 2021). However, currently financial incentives for BECCS are weak or virtually non-existing.
As negative emissions lower the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the world and its population may be seen to benefit. Government must establish conducive conditions for for producing negative emissions, which may involve some direct support in an early phase, but large and long-term government financing is not sustainable. Therefore it will be necessary to find alternative sources of funding, e.g. that those responsible for any remaining emissions would be responsible for financing negative emissions to get to ‘net-zero’, although this funding source faces limitations in the future as residual emissions reach very low levels, whereas atmospheric CO2 concentration must be further reduced (Bednar, Obersteiner, & Wagner, 2019). The value of negative emissions must be realized for companies and other entities that produce negative emissions, which requires that negative emissions are accepted and accounted similar to positive (ordinary) emissions of CO2. Furthermore, negative emissions must at some level be fungible with climate policy instruments generating a value and incentives for reducing emissions, such as taxes and emissions trading. Since negative emissions have a different role meeting a climate goal than reduced emissions, specific instruments to stimulate industry engagement will be called for, such as additional payments by users of commodities or services producing negative emissions, certificates for negative emissions, a guaranteed price or tax rebate by government. When an incentive system for negative emissions is established there will be incentives for industry and private finance to engage. One idea is issuance of green bonds by a company or municipality that are used to finance investments in BECCS facilities.
Economical barriers combined with lack of incentives were mentioned also in the interviews. New initiatives such as marketplaces for carbon removal (e.g. Puro.earthhttps://puro.earth/) were suggested as initiatives that are aiming at providing incentives. Additional barriers from an investor’s point of view may be identified. A recently published study presented perspectives based on interviews with representatives of Finnish and Swedish companies with point sources (>300 000 tonnes CO2 per year) (Rodrigues, o.a., 2021). Perspectives expressed include that:
Since the climate policy regime from the start in 1992 (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) in most contexts has assumed that biomass use is climate-neutral, the recent focus on CO2 sinks and negative emissions has caused challenge, as illustrated by the inability of EU ETS to include negative emissions from BECCS. Accounting rules for BECCS need to be put in place that, inter alia, meet the need for certainty of climate benefits, meet practical accuracy requirements for inclusion in national inventories, and link policy incentives to tonne CO2 removed with measurement requirements that cover impacts along the value chain and are sufficiently precise (Grönkvist, Möllersten, & Pingoud, 2006; Torvanger, 2019; Vivid economics, 2019).
Accounting rules need to explicitly address reversal risks (the risk of CO2 seeping out from geological storage sitesj and eventually reaching the atmosphere) and in case of international supply chains, the attribution of negative emissions between countries must be handled.
New carbon removal marketplaces, such as Puro Earth, are developing their own methodologies for capturing biogenic CO2 and its storage. CO2 removal certificates are used at voluntary markets.
The London Convention and the London ProtocolFull name: The convention on the prevention of marine pollution by dumping of wastes and other matter (“The London Convention”) and its 1996 protocol to the convention of the prevention of marine pollution by dumping of wastes and other matter (“The London Protocol”). are legally binding for all countries that have ratified the convention. This includes the export of wastes or other matter for dumping in the marine environment. In 2009 Parties to the London Protocol agreed on an amendment to allow geological storage of CO2 in transboundary sub-seabed geological formations – effectively allowing CO2 streams to be exported for CCS purposes (provided that the protection standards of all other London Protocol requirements have been met). The CO2 export amendment to the London Protocol has not come into force as not enough parties have formally accepted the amendment. However, in 2019 a provisional application of the amendment has been agreed pending bilateral agreements between the countries concerned. Thus, bilateral agreements need to be in place until enough parties have ratified the amendment.
Furthermore, the Helsinki conventionThe Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area (“The Helsinki Convention”). prohibits dumping of CO2 in the Baltic sea area and the Kattegat. This means that an amendment to the convention is required to create legal conditions for CO2 storage in this region.
The EU ETS Directive specifically includes in the Annex I list the “transport of greenhouse gases by pipelines for geological storage in a storage site permitted under the CCS Directive”. The implication of this statement is that pipelines are the only permitted means of transport for CO2 under the ETS scheme. This wording could mean that CO2 is excluded from shipping under the ETS Directive. However, the barrier is not absolute since Member States may apply emission allowance trading to activities and to greenhouse gases which are not listed in Annex I. The EU MRV Regulations contain no specific provisions to address ships transporting CO2, only the CO2 being emitted from the operations. Consequently, how CO2 can be effectively and adequately monitored and verified under the current regime is unclear (IEA GHG, 2020). This legal barrier was considered relevant in the interviews.
Although the EU ETS framework does not cover CO2 transportation by ships for the purpose of CCS, some of the rules that would be required are operational for other purposes. The Commission published the Maritime MRV Regulation (Regulation 2015/757) in 2015, which sets out rules how the direct emissions from fuel use within shipping activities must be monitored and reported from 2018 onwards. The MRV Regulation applies for all ships (above 5000 gross tonnage) calling at European Economic Area (EEA) ports. In early 2019, the Commission published a proposal for an amendment of the maritime MRV Regulation, taking into account the IMO Data Collection SystemAmendments to MARPOL Annex VI on Data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships, adopted by resolution MEPC.278(70), entered into force on 1 March 2018. Under the amendments, ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above are required to collect consumption data for each type of fuel oil they use, as well as other, additional, specified data including proxies for transport work. (IMO DCS) which is a similar, but global, monitoring system for maritime transport emissions within the MARPOL Convention (IMO, 1973). The purpose of the EU’s maritime emission MRV Regulation amendment is to streamline the administrative efforts for shipping operators regarding the two monitoring schemes.
The Maritime MRV Regulation is part of EU’s policy to regulate and reduce emissions from the shipping sector. However, shipping is not included in the EU’s emission trading system. On July 7th, 2020, the EU’s Environment Committee, in order to see more ambition in the reduction of climate impact from shipping, voted that maritime transport should be included in the EU ETS, with relation to ships over 5000 gross tonnageThe news and draft report is available at the European Parliament website: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20200703IPR82633/shipping-industry-must-contribute-to-climate-neutrality-say-meps. The MEPs also voted to include a binding emission reduction target of 40% until 2030 for shipping. The advancements in the inclusion of shipping into EU ETS will affect the position from where the transport of CO2 by ships can be included into the MRR. In principle, if ship’s emission would already be accounted for in the ETS, only the monitoring of the CO2 cargo would have to be further regulated.
To pursue BECCS at scale, the different components along the value chain would need to be developed (and incentivized through policy) jointly to avoid cross-chain risks (i.e. that a failure of one of the components in the value chain affects operations in other parts of the chain). If one of either capture, transport, or storage components of the BECCS chain is not moving ahead, this risks the success of the entire value chain as operators will be reluctant to commit and invest if others are not doing the same. In this regard, the challenge associated with BECCS implementation exhibits some of the features that often characterize so-called “collective action dilemmas” (Rootzen, Kjärstad, Johnsson, & Karlsson, 2018), and relates to the “hold-up” or “commitment” problem due to incomplete contracts between companies in the CCS value chain causes risk since the payback on an investment by a company depends on investments by other companies.
Efficient co-ordination across the Nordic countries increases flexibility of companies along the BECCS (and CCS) value chain, thereby also increasing robustness and contributing to less risk and, in addition, cost savings. At the same time government regulation is required to secure free access to the infrastructure at competitive conditions and avoid that a company could gain monopoly power over one segment of the BECCS chain, which could be utilized to exploit companies along other segments of the chain and earn extra profits, in addition to reducing the overall social benefits of the value chain.
Literature on the role of BECCS in global mitigation scenarios, typically based on Integrated Assessment Models (IAM), is abundant (IPCC, 2018). However, there is little actual implementation of BECCS – even less than for CCS (International Energy Agency, 2020). Fuss and Johnsson (2021) conclude that there is an obvious gap between the need for BECCS as identified in global IAM scenarios and actual implementation.
BECCS faces market and other barriers and hence a single policy initiative providing financial incentives (or penalties) to deploy CDR is unlikely to suffice. Minimal private investment combined with an increasingly strong evidence base for the need of negative emissions provides a clear rationale for government intervention (European Academies Science Advisory Council, 2018; Torvanger, 2019). However, one policy is unlikely to efficiently overcome all barriers. Instead, a suite of policies is required to address key barriers beyond the current lack of incentives for deployment.
Table 5 presents categories of potential policies and provides examples for each category. Support for research and innovation is primarily needed for technologies in their early stages of development. As a technology becomes more advanced, regulations and/or incentives are needed for business engagement and ensuring its uptake (International Energy Agency, 2020).
Furthermore, private sector support might come in the form of voluntary commitments for CDR, seed funding for CDR start-ups, and participation in voluntary carbon markets (Jeffery, Höhne, Moisio, Day, & Lawless, 2020; Allen, o.a., 2020).
In addition, international co-ordination and collaboration will be necessary for the deployment of BECCS (and other Negative Emission Technologies) on the level required to meet the Paris Agreement’s climate policy goal, including establishing monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) standards for BECCS, developing robust sustainability frameworks and building cross-border CCS infrastructure (Reiner, 2016; Torvanger, 2019; Vivid economics, 2019).
Table 5. Policies for BECCS development and deployment.
|Investment in research and innovation||Investment in basic and applied research|
|Investment in demonstration and pilot projects|
|Regulatory standards and obligations||Adoption of a national Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) systems for BECCS|
|Mandates on manufacturers to meet emissions criteria|
|Grant support||Capital funding provided directly to targeted projects. E.g. the EU Innovation Fund makes available up to Euro 10 billion over 2020–2030 to support the demonstration of innovative first-of-its-kind, low-carbon technologies. The Innovation Fund will support up to 60% of the additional capital and operational costs of large-scale projects.|
|Markets and incentives||Emission reduction creditscredit schemes; results-based payments. Demand on the basis of countries’ international GHG commitments or national targets and/or private sector voluntary emissions compensation.|
|State guarantees (e.g., public procurement framework)|
|Tax credits (a tax incentive which allows certain taxpayers to subtract the amount of the credit they have accrued from the total they owe the state), such as the 45Q tax credit in the US|
|Financing BECCS through green and sustainability instruments, such as green bonds|
|Willingness from public and private users to pay a premium for low-carbon products and services|
|Risk mitigation measures||Loan guarantees|
|CO2 liability ownership, in which governments take most of the liability for stored CO2, in particular after project closure|
The table is based on (Burke, Byrnes, & Fankhauser, 2019; Vivid economics, 2019; Jeffery, Höhne, Moisio, Day, & Lawless, 2020; International Energy Agency, 2020; Zetterberg, Johnsson, & Möllersten, 2021).
Several authors argue that there is a need for prompt introduction of political and economic incentives for BECCS (and other negative emission technologies) in order to support commercialization and deployment, in particular demand-pull incentives (Fridahl, Bellamy, Hansson, & Haikola, 2020; Fuss & Johnsson, 2021; Bellamy, o.a., 2021). Although several authors argue that there is a need for policies that incentivise BECCS, literature discussing explicit design of such policies is limited to a few papers (Pour, Webley, & Cook, 2018; Burke, Byrnes, & Fankhauser, 2019; Vivid economics, 2019; Jeffery, Höhne, Moisio, Day, & Lawless, 2020; Zetterberg, Johnsson, & Möllersten, 2021). Different potential models for creating incentives and financing of BECCS are discussed briefly below.
A common approach for creating incentives for reduced environmental impact is the so-called Polluter Pays Principle (PPP), including the pricing of CO2 emissions and other pollutants in the form of a tax or a trading system such as the EU ETS. Such pricing mechanisms lead to incentives to reduce emissions and provides revenues to the state. Fossil fuel emissions generate economic benefits for the operator but result in external costs and ideally the emission price should therefore correspond to the external cost (environmental and social costs) caused by the emissions. Currently, there is no PPP system which applies to negative emissions including those obtained from BECCS. A challenge for the design of such system is that those who remove carbon from the atmosphere create a benefit for society but will not get any reward, unless their customers are willing to pay extra for CDR. Thus, it is not obvious who should pay for such CDR. Since it is a common benefit it may be argued that it should be taken from the state budget and funded by revenue from carbon taxing or emissions trading systems (although for a global benefit there are no corresponding global “state budgets”). Another way to implement this is to let participants of an emission trading scheme such as the EU ETS, purchase BECCS credits as an alternative to emission allowances. Eventually, the value of negative emissions and avoided emissions should deviate due to the different workings of these emissions in the global carbon cycle as well as different roles in meeting the climate policy target. Since the concept of “carbon-neutral” or “climate positive products” is already a sales argument among some product groups, there may also be a possibility to create voluntary markets for financing negative emissions including BECCS. Indeed, there are already some examples of new voluntary marketplaces for CO2 removal.
BECCS will require high upfront investments and leads to an energy penalty and will thus increase the production cost (e.g. for heat and electricity and pulp and paper). This must be taken into account when considering if a policy is sustainable in the long term. As an example, the EU ETS system has provided insufficient incentives for large scale implementation of fossil CCS since the price of emission allowances has been too low and with too unpredictable prices to trigger investments in CCS and other more transformative technologies.Another challenge with BECCS (and CCS) is that it cannot be ramped up in an incremental way but require large scale units. Thus, any policy must be able to handle this. An illustrative example is how the NER300 in the past failed to promote any CCS demonstrations, as it was an instrument tied to the emission allowance price that went down. It should be noted, however, that at the time of writing the EU ETS allowance price is at record levels, close to Euro 50 per tonne CO2.
In the following, four potential sources of demand for BECCS mitigation outcomes are considered, building on (Möllersten, 2019; Zetterberg, Johnsson, & Möllersten, 2021): i) states, ii) sectors that emit GHG, iii) EU and iv) voluntary markets.
One possibility to incentivise negative emissions is state financing through paying a pre-determined uniform price for every tonne of biogenic CO2 that is removed, akin to a feed-in tariff. Alternatively, reverse auctionsA reverse auction is a type of auction in which sellers bid for the prices at which they are willing to sell their goods and services. or tenders would allow for a degree of price discovery. The government would procure specified quantities of verified CDR units. Long-term contracts would be awarded to the bidder(s) that submit the lowest bid(s). In distributional terms, this would put the burden on society. It would also be a stand-alone approach that is detached from other elements of climate policy.
Financing BECCS from the public purse may be logical but is likely to become costly for the taxpayers. Therefore, government financed BECCS may be interesting at an early stage when the technology is maturing in order to help the adoption of new technologies and initiation of a market.
Given the burden on public finances, states may look at other options for financing BECCS.The question on who should pay is a distributional issue, since the cost will have to be paid by someone and in the end, it’s likely to be the consumer. However, shifting the initial financial burden from the public budget to polluters may increase the acceptability of the policy. For instance, states can place a requirement on specific sectors that continue to emit GHGs, e.g. agriculture, aviation, or some industries, to buy BECCS credits corresponding to (a share of) their emissions. By introducing a quota obligation, emitters in the concerned sectors would be obliged to purchase CDR units in proportion to the GHGs they emit or directly finance CDR projects and subtract negative emissions from their own emissions. Once the targeted volume is known, competition to deliver these volumes could allow for price discovery.
A problem with this approach is that over time, as emissions are reduced in the targeted sectors, the basis for financing will shrink. Therefore, this option may be most interesting on a time scale of 5 to 20 years.
With the current rules, the EU ETS cap will reach zero in 2058, meaning that the last emission allowance will be issued in 2058. However, in 2019 the European Council decided that EU’s GHG emissions should reach net zero by 2050. This necessitates a strengthening of the EU ETS and brings the moment of zero emissions forward, for instance to the year 2050 or earlier. This raises the question what will happen when the cap of the EU ETS is close to zero. As we get closer to the year of zero emissions, it is likely that there will be residual emissions that are very costly to abate (e.g. aviation and some industrial emissions). If so, an emissions trading system with a zero cap could still be possible if there are credits representing negative emissions that can be used to compensate for the residual emissions in the ETS.
With current rules, however, imports of credits from negative emissions are not allowed in the EU ETS and the political appetite for including them is very low. On a direct question, the EU Commission made it clear that credits will not be allowed before 2030 (Carbon pulse, 2020). Looking forward, if the EU ETS is to have a zero cap in 2050, this will require use of some sort of credits in the long term. This could be BECCS credits produced from projects in the EU.
A significant demand of BECCS for usage in the EU ETS could bring down costs for BECCS through learning by doing and modularisation of CO2 capture solutions (Global CCS Institute, 2021). However, it will take time before BECCS-credits will become an interesting alternative to emission reductions or buying allowances. With a cost for BECCS in the proximity of Euro 100 per tonne, an allowance price in parity with that cost will be needed for BECCS to be an alternative for the participants on its own. Yet, such allowance price is also required for fossil fuel emissions sources to be abated through CCS. If the EU is struggling to meet its net-zero goal due to few further options to reduce GHG emissions, the value of negative emission credits can increase and become higher than the allowance price in the EU ETS.
Demand for offsets on the voluntary market is created by companies and individuals that wish to offset all or part of their carbon footprint (Hermwille & Kreibich, 2016). The transacted volume on the voluntary market in 2019 was larger than the earlier record year 2010, mainly driven by corporate net-zero targets (Donofrio, et al., 2020). Voluntary carbon markets could play a significant role in mobilizing necessary private climate finance.
Looking internationally, large companies like Microsoft, Stripe and Shopify have committed to become carbon neutral and intend to purchase significant amounts of carbon credits, largely based on CDR (Microsoft, 2021; Honegger, Poralla, Michaelowa, & Ahonen, 2021). Furthermore, some recent proposals regarding standards for corporate net-zero targets suggest that there may be an emerging preference for the use of offsets based on CDR rather than those based on avoided emissions (Allen, et al., 2020), which may lead to increasing appetite for BECCS credits.
A clear disadvantage is that the “demand signal” is uncertain (volume and price) and probably not strong enough on its own to incentivize BECCS investments. Moreover, carbon offsetting is a net-zero game and does not lead to overall mitigation of global emissions unless it is only applied by companies to offset emissions in addition to the most stringent mitigation schemes for their own emissions.
Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) along the BECCS value chain is necessary to quantify the mitigation outcome. A challenge is the sustainable sourceing of biomass for energy and industry use, especially in terms of land use conflicts related to biodiversity, agriculture, and water supply. The geological storage of CO2 also requires special attention in this respect. Requirements or guidelines for monitoring are a key part of government regulations for CO2 sequestration projects (e.g., the EU CCS directiveDirective 2009/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the geological storage of carbon dioxide.). Numerous pilot tests and commercial operations have demonstrated a wide range of monitoring techniques.https://co2re.co/FacilityData
A range of GHG MRV and accounting protocols and guidelines currently exist for CCS activities, and various activities continue in this area. Such guidelines exist at the project-, entity-, state-, country- and international-level and work is ongoing to develop common accounting approaches.
Any scheme that provides for the issuance of BECCS credits that can be traded needs to make sure that verified negative emissions are additional and that double counting is avoided. A baseline needs to be employed against which the emission reduction outcome is measured.
All Nordic countries, as well as the EU, have adopted net-zero GHG emission targets, in line with the 1,5-degree pathway, as summarized in Table 6. Net-zero targets cannot be reached without CDR in some form. Pulp, heat and power producers, and potentially other industries with substantial point emissions of biogenic CO2, can be instrumental in achieving the needed permanent CDR. Sweden has already explicitly pointed out BECCS as a key mitigation option for attaining the target to reach net-zero emissions in 2045 and negative emissions thereafter (Statens offentliga utredningar, 2020; Infrastrukturdepartementet, 2021).
|Country||Net-zero GHG emissions|
|Norway||80–95% reduction by 2050*|
|EU green deal||2050|
|* The target to become GHG neutral by 2030 adopted in 2016 was based on use of international carbon offsets and is not included in Norway’s updated NDC.|
** This translates to a reduction of domestic (production based) emissions of at least 85% (compared to 1990), and offsetting up to 15% by the use of so called “supplementary measures”.
Table 6. Net-zero GHG targets of Nordic countries and the EU.
The efficiency of reaching necessary levels of BECCS can be enhanced if efforts to incentivise BECCS deployment are pursued jointly rather than individually by each country. Expanding the geographical reach of support mechanisms promotes improved cost-effectiveness. As the number of potential project developers increases, more projects with low overall cost can participate (typically larger point sources of biogenic CO2 with a favorable location from a logistical point of view).
Furthermore, the efficiency of reverse auctions, which appears to be a feasible support mechanism to be used in an initial phase of BECCS incentivisation (Burke, Byrnes, & Fankhauser, 2019; Statens offentliga utredningar, 2020; Nordic Council of Ministers, 2020), could also be enhanced by expanding the reach beyond national boundaries. Typically, an increasing number of potential bidders (project developers) increases competition, which is likely to enhance cost-effectiveness and reduce the risk of collusive behaviour (Möllersten, 2019). An expanded geographical reach also enhances the potential of providing price discovery across a range of technologies.
The need for expanded geographical coverage was mentioned also in the interviews. The importance of the EU level was highlighted although opinions regarding whether or not BECCS should be included in the EU ETS diverged.
The question, then, is how the Nordic countries, in practice, could work jointly to incentivise BECCS. This is where we turn to the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement’s Article 6 recognizes that some Parties choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their NDCs to allow for higher ambition in their mitigation actions. Article 6 lays out the requirements for transfers of mitigation outcomes between Parties including for their robust accounting, thereby enabling carbon markets. Article 6 has different parts with different objectives. Article 6.2 enables plurilateral cooperation, bringing together Parties that have areas of common interest or problems to tackle. It furthermore defines “internationally transferred mitigation outcomes” (ITMOs), which can be produced from any mitigation approach provided consistency with the principles listed in Article 6.2 and the guidance provided by the Parties. ITMOs are likely to be defined broadly and may even apply to situations where cooperation is not only relating to NDC compliance, e.g. countries’ net-zero targets beyond NDC targets, and where the mitigation outcome is not international and/or not transferred (e.g. use for domestic voluntary emission compensation).
The Nordic countries could thus create as a pilot testing ground a common Nordic-level market for BECCS mitigation outcomes under which Nordic governments could procure CDR under one common framework while benefitting from the efficiency gains that are brought by an expanded geographical area. Governments could potentially pool funds and thus access opportunities of scale/reduce transaction costs. This goes in line with a proposal put forth in a recent report from the Nordic Council of Ministers (2020) to explore possibilities for developing Nordic auction for negative emissions. Such market-based cooperation (a “BECCS carbon club”) would have potential not only to facilitate the attainment of individual countries’ net-zero targets, but also speed up the realization of the Nordic BECCS potential by connecting physical potentials in individual Nordic countries with a larger Nordic demand base.
Building on a pooled fund concept would also open for Public-Private Partnership, allowing private stakeholders to co-purchase, e.g. for the purpose of voluntary emissions compensation based on CDR.
Pilot activities are of crucial importance for Article 6 to become operational, elaborating, for example, methodologies for crediting and the development of accounting systems that will ensure that a government is always fully in control of the net balance of ITMO inflows and outflows (Asian Development Bank, 2018). Through the creation of a testing ground for BECCS cooperation in the Nordic region (a “BECCS carbon club”) the Nordic countries could thus contribute important experiences from piloting the cooperative instruments under the Paris agreement (see Box 1 below for a Nordic analogue from the Kyoto-period). Poralla, o.a. (2021) note that elements from early bilateral or plurilateral piloting of market-based cooperation under Article 6.2 may later be put to work under the more stringent Article 6.4. The elements would then be accessible to all countries that wish to engage in international cooperation on BECCS. Pilot activities could also be utilised as a common Nordic contribution for development of the EU-level framework.
Other Negative Emission Technologies than BECCS could gradually be considered for inclusion. The most straightforward option would be the Direct Air Carbon Capture with Storage (DACCS) due to the identical solutions for final storage of the CO2 although accounting could be more challenging as there are currently no international accounting rules in place for countries to include carbon removal from DACCS in countries’ greenhouse gas inventories (Global CCS Institute, 2021).
The current situation of Article 6 has similarities with the early days of the project-based flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI), in the early 2000’s. The key principles of Article 6 have been defined but the detailed rules have yet to be developed.
The idea of carbon markets was launched long before the Kyoto Protocol. Article 4.2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) provided a “hook” for collaboration on mitigation that resulted in the creation of a pilot phase named Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ). The pilot phase, which did not generate any emissions reduction credits, made it possible to test project-based mechanisms at an early stage, and experience could feed into the creation of CDM and JI.
The Nordic countries took a very active part in piloting AIJ as well as CDM and JI. For example, Nordic governments pooled resources in a regional carbon fund, The Baltic Sea Region Testing Ground Facility (TGF) – mainly for the procurement of emission reductions via JI. The TGF was operated by the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO). TGF was the first multi-donor carbon fund outside the World Bank Group. The first participants in TGF were the Nordic governments and Germany, but the fund converted itself into a Public-Private Partnership by welcoming nine private participants, primarily from the energy sector. Energy companies were seeking compliance units to meet their obligations under the EU ETS. It was ultimately capitalised at EUR 35 million. The TGF ended its activities in 2015 with 11 implemented JI projects and 2.6 million carbon credits delivered to the investors (NEFCO, 2020).
The Nordic countries have set ambitious targets to achieve net-zero and even net-negative GHG emissions in line with the 1.5-degree pathway, both individually through various national goals and legislation, and jointly through the Helsinki Declaration on Nordic Carbon Neutrality (“the Declaration”). In the Declaration, the Prime Ministers declare that Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark want to lead by example and intensify cooperation including on removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The Declaration underlines the importance of contributing to further development and deployment role of CCS, including BECCS technologies as well as the importance of resolving remaining technical challenges and developing business models for their implementation.
Substantial amounts of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) of some form will be necessary to attain those targets. The required level and timing of CDR necessitates near-term efforts to commercialise and gain experience in deployment of Negative Emission Technology (NET) value chains.
This section recommends potential priority areas of Nordic cooperation and coordination that could provide important contributions towards the development and deployment of BECCS and, consequently, towards its capacity to deliver required CDR.
Building on proposals such as put forth by Bellona (2016), Nordic countries could consider establishment of Nordic level “Market Makers” assigned to address many of the structural market failures that slow down BECCS/CCS progress and the need for coordination to overcome them. Through providing a form of central planning Market Makers can provide a degree of certainty to a CO2 storage developer that CO2 will be captured and vice versa.
Nordic countries will gain from collaboration on BECCS infrastructure since resources are unevenly distributed across countries. Sweden and Finland have large biomass resources in terms of forested land and large point sources of biogenic CO2 emissions. Norway and Denmark have CO2 storage capacity in geological formations under the North Sea seabed while Iceland is developing CO2 storage based on the injection of CO2 dissolved in water into below-ground basalts and reactive rock formations where the CO2 can turn rapidly into minerals. Economies of scale are present both in investment and operations of CO2 transportation infrastructure as well as facilities for injection of CO2 into the underground, which implies that investing in infrastructure with high capacity and aiming for high capacity utilization will reduce cost per tonne of CO2 handled.
Large up-front investment, long project lead times, and reliance on shared infrastructure makes BECCS development challenging. The fact that BECCS cannot be ramped up in small incremental steps (such as with wind and solar power) but capacity additions come in large scale units adds further to the challenge.
Investment risks will be highest for initial projects, when the need for new transportation and storage infrastructure is the highest. To some extent, later projects can benefit from early movers’ investments. A potential solution to this problem is to disaggregate the components of the BECCS value chain. Governments could take a larger responsibility for development of transportation and storage infrastructure, as appropriate.
Timing and coordination of action will be a crucial issue as the different components of a carbon capture and storage value chain would need to be developed jointly to avoid cross-chain risks. If one of either capture, transport, or storage components of the BECCS value chain is not moving ahead, this risks the success of the entire value chain as operators will be reluctant to commit and invest if others are not doing the same.
A potential role of public sector institutions could be to facilitate coalitions with common interest in coordinating, constructing, operating and utilizing transport infrastructure and storage sites servicing industrial capture clusters, securing free access, and aggregating networks (Banks, Boersma, & Goldthorpe, 2017). Hubs with shared CO2 transport and storage infrastructure could play a pivotal role in exploiting economies of scale and buying-down the cost of BECCS applied to smaller point sources of CO2.
Nordic-level market-based cooperation could offer opportunities to speed up the realization of the Nordic BECCS potential by connecting physical potentials in individual Nordic countries with a larger Nordic demand base. Nordic governments could explore how BECCS can be promoted at the Nordic level by creating a framework for market-based cooperation building on the international rules for cooperation under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
A major barrier to BECCS deployment today is the absence of a value attached to the mitigation outcome of BECCS. There needs to be a financial reward for BECCS investors. The introduction of financial incentives for BECCS has so-far mainly been discussed on the national level. BECCS potentials are, however, unevenly distributed. Article 6 is interesting because it creates an opportunity for international transfers of mitigation outcomes. Thus, BECCS potentials implemented in one country could tap into support for CDR from other countries who may wish to “claim” the mitigation outcomes achieved with their support towards their own use (e.g. towards national net-zero targets). Ultimately, BECCS project could also tap into support from private entities who wish to claim BECCS mitigation outcomes for voluntary emissions compensation.
Regional market-based collaboration among the Nordic countries based on Article 6 could thus help to (i) speed up development and deployment of BECCS by expanding the demand base and (ii) provide opportunities for raised ambition by giving countries access to CDR potentials in other countries.
Building a Nordic market for BECCS mitigation outcomes would require analysis and elaboration on a number of issues, such as the institutional requirements for enabling the issuance of BECCS “credits” (ITMOs) within a Nordic Article 6.2 collaboration, taking into account relevant international rules under the Paris Agreement. NCM is recommended to initiate activities to, for example, collect more detailed feedback on the proposal from various stakeholders in the Nordic countries, coordinate the development a conceptual design of a framework for market-based cooperation, and, as appropriate, contribute to the implementation of a framework.
Working towards an integrated Nordic market for mitigation outcomes from BECC would not only pave the way for the Nordics as a net-zero emission region, but also showcase to the rest of the world how international cooperation under Article 6 and integration can facilitate globally net-zero emissions where GHG emissions and opportunities for CDR are geographically unevenly distributed.
Achieving the magnitude of CDR required to attain Nordic net-zero targets will require substantial private investment. Governments of the Nordic countries may consider how to jointly alleviate the high capital costs and commercial and technical risks involved.
In this context, grant funding programmes can play an important role in supporting early deployment, particularly first-of-a-kind projects and CO2 transport and storage infrastructure. Nordic grant funding programmes could potentially be of interest as a complement to existing grant opportunities, e.g. from the EU. Development of projects of particular strategic interest for BECCS roll-out in the Nordic region may be considered for such a programme. Joint and/or coordinated auctions for BECCS mitigation outcomes could potentially provide more predictable and reliable incentives to invest compared to countries acting individually.
Nordic countries should cooperate and participate actively in the development of EU-level regulatory framework as regards creation of incentives for negative emissions from BECCS. Incentives can be created through revision of current EU-level climate policy instruments (EU ETS, ESR, LULUCF) or through new regulatory framework outside the current instruments. Inclusion of negative emissions into EU ETS would lead to a need to consider and revise many key elements. The linkage and relationship to proposal on regulatory framework for the certification of carbon removals in 2023 needs to be taken into account as well.
Nordic countries could collaborate on designing and testing measures to stimulate demand for (e..g through public procurements) and willingness of public and private customers to buy (e.g. through eco-labelling) somewhat more expensive but low-carbon commodities and services, also those associated with negative emissions, for example higher waste fees at municipal level and climate-friendly cement.
Risks that can inhibit investment include cross-chain risk, such as when capture capacity is built but no storage is available on time (or vice versa). Other risks are related to legal barriers that are beyond the control of individual project developers and may cause costly delays. Good coordination across the Nordic countries increases robustness and reduces risk. Government regulation is required to secure free access to the infrastructure at competitive conditions and avoid that a company could gain monopoly power over one segment of the BECCS chain, which could be utilized to exploit companies along other segments of the chain and earn extra profits.
Certain types of risk with low probability but high-impact, such as the long-term liability associated with CO2 storage, including the risk that the CO2 could migrate or leak out many years or decades after the site has closed. This risk is difficult to quantify and hard to insure against. Nordic governments may consider joint solutions to transfer the ownership of the stored CO2 back to governments after a specified period and with appropriate assurances and contingency plans, including evidence that the injected CO2 behaving in a stable and predictable manner.
A final issue that may require attention is that industry stakeholders perceive that state aid rules inhibit BECCS development. Governments may, therefore, consider if coordinated Nordic action could be taken to alleviate this barrier.
Nordic governments may consider coordinated research effortst to build knowledge to support the widespread deployment of BECCS.
Several barriers and opportunities that have been identified in this work and research can play an important role to improve conditions to overcome barriers and make use of opportunities. A number of research needs with a Nordic dimension have been raised in the interviews and discussions included in this work, e.g.:
Allen, M., Axelsson, K., Caldecott, B., Hale, T., Hepburn, C., Hickey, C., . . . Smith, S. (2020). The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon. Smith school of enterprise and the environment, Oxford university.
Anderson, K., & Peters, G. (2017). The trouble with negative emissions. Science, 354(6309), 182–183.
Asian Development Bank. (2018). Article 6 of the Paris Agreement - Piloting for enhanced readiness. Manila: Asian Development Bank.
Azar, C., Lindgren, K., Larson, E., & Möllersten, K. (2006). Carbon capture and storage from fossil fuels and biomass – Costs and potential role in stabilising the atmosphere. Climatic Change, 47–79.
Azar, C., Lindgren, K., Obersteiner, M., Riahi, K., van Vuuren, D., den Elzen, M., . . . Larson, E. (2010). The feasibility of low CO2 concentration targets and the role of bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). 100(1):19. Climatic Change, 195–202.
Baker, S., Stolaroff, G., Peridas, G., Pang, S., Goldstein, H., Lucci, F., . . . McCormick, C. (2020). Getting to neutral: Options for negative carbon emissions in California. Livermore, CA.: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Retrieved from https://www-gs.llnl.gov/contentassets/docs/energy/Getting_to_Neutral.pdf
Banks, J., Boersma, T., & Goldthorpe, V. (2017). Challenges related to carbon transportation and storage – showstoppers for CCS? The Global CCS Institute.
Bednar, J., Obersteiner, M., & Wagner, F. (2019). On the financial viability of negative emissions. Nature communications, 10(1783).
Bellamy, R., Fridahl, M., Lezaun, J., Palmer, J., Rodrigues, E., Lefvert, A., . . . Haikola, S. (2021). Incentivising bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) responsibly: Comparing stakeholder policy preferences in the United Kingdom and Sweden. Environmental science and policy, 47–55.
Bellona Europa. (2016). Maufacturing our future: Industries, European regions and climate action. Brussels: Bellona Europa.
Bui, M., Adjiman, C., Bardow, A., Anthony, E., Boston, A., Brown, S., . . . Mac Dowell, N. (2018). Carbon capture and storage (CCS): the way forward. Energy and environmental science, 11, 1062–1176.
Burke, J., Byrnes, R., & Fankhauser, S. (2019). How to price carbon to reach net-zero emissions in the UK. Policy report, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, London.
Carbfix. (2021, 04 22). Carbfix builds a CO2 mineral storage terminal in Iceland . Retrieved from https://www.carbfix.com/: https://www.carbfix.com/carbfixbuilds-aco2mineralstorage-terminalin-iceland
Carbon pulse. (2020, 11 18). CO2 removals will not be included in EU carbon market - senior official. Retrieved from Carbon pulse: https://carbon-pulse.com/115069/
Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum. (2018). Technical Summary of Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS).
Consolli, C. (2019). Bioenergy and carbon capture and storage. Global CCS Institute.
Cusack, D., Axsen, J., Shwom, R., Hartzell-Nichols, L., White, S., & Mackey, K. (2014). An interdisciplinary assessment of climate engineering strategies. Frontiers in ecology and the environment, 280–287.
Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy, and Utilities. (2020). Climate Programme 2020. Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy, and Utilities.
European Academies Science Advisory Council. (2018). Negative emission technologies: What role in meeting Paris Agreement targets? EASAC policy report 35.
European Commission. (2017, 04 24). The EU Horizon 2020 – Work Programme 2018-2020. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/support/faq/2890
Fajardy, M., & Mac Dowell, N. (2018). Investigating the BECCS resource nexus delivering sustainable negative emissions. Energy and environmental sciences, 3408–30.
Finley, R. (2014). An overview of the Illinois Basin–Decatur project,. Greenhouse gases: Science and technology, 4(5), 571–579.
Fridahl, M., Bellamy, R., Hansson, A., & Haikola, S. (2020). Mapping Multi-Level Policy Incentives for Bioenergy With Carbon Capture and Storage in Sweden. Frontiers in climate.
Fuss, S., & Johnsson, F. (2021). The BECCS implementation gap – a Swedish case study. Frontiers in climate.
Fuss, S., Canadell, J., Peters, G., Tavoni, M., Andrew, R., Ciais, P., . . . Yamagata, Y. (2014). Betting on negative emissions. Nature climate change, 850–853.
Garðarsdóttir, S., Normann, F., Skagestad, R., & Johnsson, F. (2018). Investment costs and CO2 reduction potential of carbon capture from industrial plants – A Swedish case study. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 111–124.
Global CCS Institute. (2021). Carbon removal with CCS technologies. Global CCS Institute.
Global CCS Institute. (2021). CO2RE Database. Retrieved 02 15, 2021, from https://CO2re.co/
Gough, C., & Mander, S. (2019). Beyond Social Acceptability: Applying Lessons from CCS Social Science to Support Deployment of BECCS. Current sustainable/renewable energy reports, 116–123.
Government of Norway. (2021, 03 09). Government.no. Retrieved from Approval of plans for CO2-storage: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/godkjenner-utbyggingsplan-for-co2-lagring/id2837595/
Grönkvist, S., Möllersten, K., & Pingoud, K. (2006). Equal opportunity for avoided CO2 emissions: a step towards more cost-effective climate change mitigation regimes. Mitigation and adaptation strategies for global change, 11(5-6), 1083–1096.
Honegger, M., Poralla, M., Michaelowa, A., & Ahonen, H. (2021). Who Is Paying for Carbon Dioxide Removal? Designing Policy Instruments for Mobilizing Negative Emissions Technologies. Frontiers in Climate, 3, 672996. doi:10.3389/fclim.2021.672996
IEA GHG. (2020). The Status and Challenges of CO₂ Shipping Infrastructures. IEAGHG.
IEAGHG. (2019). Further assessment of CO2 capture technologies for the power sector and their potential to reduce costs. Cheltenham, UK: IEAGHG.
IEAGHG. (2019). Further assessment of emerging CO2 capture technologies for the power sector and their potential to reduce costs. Cheltenham: International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme.
Infrastrukturdepartementet. (2021). Regleringsbrev för budgetåret 2021 avseende Statens energimyndighet. Retrieved from Ekonomistyrningsverket: https://www.esv.se/statsliggaren/regleringsbrev/?rbid=21184
International Energy Agency. (2019). Technology Innovation to Accelerate Energy Transitions. Paris: International Energy Agency.
International Energy Agency. (2020). Energy technology perspectives 2020 - Special report on carbon capture, utilisation and storage. International Energy Agency.
IPCC. (2018). Global warming of 1,5 °C. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Jeffery, L., Höhne, N., Moisio, M., Day, T., & Lawless, B. (2020). Options for supporting Carbon Dioxide Removal. New climate institute. Retrieved from http://newclimate.org/publications/
Johnsson, F., & Kjärstad, J. (2019). Avskiljning, transport och lagring av koldioxid i Sverige. Chalmers tekniska universitet.
Kearns, D., Liu, H., & Consolly, C. (2021). Technology readiness and costs of CCS. Global CCS institute.
Levihn, F., Linde, L., Gustafsson, K., & Dahlén, E. (2019). Introducing BECCS through HPC to the research agenda: The case of combined heat and power in Stockholm. Energy reports, 1381–1389.
Li, H., Yan, J., Thorin, E., Möllersten, K., Nookuea, W., & Dong, B. (2019). Final report: Characterizing major CO2 streams in BECCS. Västerås: Mälardalen university.
Maersk drilling. (2020, November 25). Maersk drilling. Retrieved 04 07, 2021, from Project Greensand: North Sea reservoir and infrastructure certified for CO2 storage: https://www.maerskdrilling.com/news-and-media/press-releases/project-greensand-north-sea-reservoir-and-infrastructure-certified-for-co2-storage
Microsoft. (2021). Microsoft carbon removal. Microsoft corporation.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. (2021). Summary of sector-specific low-carbon. Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
Minx, J., Lamb, W., Callaghan, M., Fuss, S., Hilaire, J., Creutzig, F., . . . del Mar Zamora Dominguez, M. (2018). Negative Emissions Part 1: - Research landscape and synthesis. Environmental Research Letters, 13(063001).
Möllersten, K. (2019). Near-term public financing of Carbon Dioxide Removal through BECCS in Sweden. Stockholm: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
National Academies of Sciences, E. a. (2018). Negative Emissions Technologies and Reliable Sequestration: A Research Agenda. Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press.
NEFCO. (2020, 11 05). NEFCO carbon funds. Retrieved from Nordic Environment Finance Corporation: https://www.nefco.org/fund-mobilisation/funds-managed-by-nefco/nefco-carbon-funds/
Net Zero Teesside. (2021, 04 07). netzeroteesside. Retrieved from https://www.netzeroteesside.co.uk/
Nordic Council of Ministers. (2020). The road towards carbon neutrality. The Nordic Council of Ministers.
Northern lights. (2021, 04 07). Northernlightsccs.com. Retrieved from About the longship project: https://northernlightsccs.com/about-the-longship-project/
Obersteiner, M., Azar, C., Kauppi, P., Möllersten, K., Moreira, J., Nilsson, S., . . . van Ypersele, J.-P. (2001). Managing climate risk. Science, 786–787.
Onarheim, K., Santos, S., Kangas, P., & Hankalin, V. (2017). Performance and cost of CCS in the pulp and paper industry part 2: Economic feasibility of amine-based post-combustion CO2 capture. International journal of greenhouse gas control, 60–75.
Poralla, M., Honegger, M., Ahonen, H., & Michaelowa, A. (2021). Sewage treatment for the skies: Mobilising carbon dioxide removal through public policies and private financing. Freiburg: Perspectives climate research.
Porthos development C.V. (2021, 04 07). porthosco2. Retrieved from https://www.porthosco2.nl/en/
Pour, N., Webley, P., & Cook, P. (2018). Opportunities for application of BECCS in the Australian power sector. Applied Energy, 615–635.
Reiner, D. (2016). Learning through a portfolio of carbon capture and storage demonstration projects. Nature Energy. Nature energy, 1, 1–6.
Rodrigues, E., Lefvert, A., Fridahl, M., Grönkvist, S., Haikola, S., & Hansson, A. (2021). Tensions in the energy transition: Swedish and Finnish company perspectives on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. Journal of cleaner production, 280.
Rootzen, J., Kjärstad, J., Johnsson, F., & Karlsson, H. (2018). Deployment of BECCS in basic industry - a Swedish case study. International Conference on Negative CO2 Emissions. Gothenburg.
Royal Society. (2018). Greenhouse Gas Removal. London: Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering.
Schenuit, F., Colvin, R., Fridahl, M., McMullin, B., Reisinger, A., Sanchez, D., . . . Geden, O. (2021). Carbon dioxide policy in the making: Assessing developments in 9 OECD countries. Frontiers in climate, 3.
Skagestad, R., Haugen, H., & Mathisen, A. (2015). CCS case synthesis final report. NORDICCS Technical Report, D3.14.1501/D14.
Statens offentliga utredningar. (2020). Vägen till en klimatpositiv framtid. Stockholm: Statens offentliga utredningar.
Stockholm exergi. (2020). Testanläggning för BECCS vid kraftvärmeverk. Final report.
Stora Enso AB. (2020). Conceptual study for Bio-CCS within Stora Ensos Swedish kraft pulp mills. Project final report.
Torvanger, A. (2019). Governance of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Climate policy, 19(3), 329–341. doi:10.1080/14693062.2018.1509044
Torvanger, A., & Meadowcroft, J. (2011). The political economy of technology support: Making decisions about CCS and low carbon energy technologies. Global Environmental Change, 21(2), 303–312.
Vattenfall. (2020). The role of BioCCS in achieving negative carbon dioxide emissions in Uppsala. Project final report.
Vivid economics. (2019). Greenhouse gas removal (GGR) policy options.
Yan, J. (2015). Handbook for clean energy systems. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Zetterberg, L., Johnsson, F., & Möllersten, K. (2021). Incentivizing BECCS – a Swedish case study. Frontiers in Climate, 3, Article 685227. doi:10.3389/fclim.2021.685227
Kenneth Möllersten, Lars Zetterberg, Tobias Nielsen, Asbjörn Torvanger, Hanne Siikavirta, Lauri Kujanpää and Ilkka Hannula
ISBN 978-92-893-7117-9 (PDF)
ISBN 978-92-893-7118-6 (ONLINE)
© Nordic Council of Ministers 2021
Cover photo: Jens Dresling/Ritzau Scanpix
This publication was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. However, the content does not necessarily reflect the Nordic Council of Ministers’ views, opinions, attitudes or recommendations.
This work is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0.
Translations: If you translate this work, please include the following disclaimer: This translation was not produced by the Nordic Council of Ministers and should not be construed as official. The Nordic Council of Ministers cannot be held responsible for the translation or any errors in it.
Adaptations: If you adapt this work, please include the following disclaimer along with the attribution: This is an adaptation of an original work by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Responsibility for the views and opinions expressed in the adaptation rests solely with its author(s). The views and opinions in this adaptation have not been approved by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Third-party content: The Nordic Council of Ministers does not necessarily own every single part of this work. The Nordic Council of Ministers cannot, therefore, guarantee that the reuse of third-party content does not infringe the copyright of the third party. If you wish to reuse any third-party content, you bear the risks associated with any such rights violations. You are responsible for determining whether there is a need to obtain permission for the use of third-party content, and if so, for obtaining the relevant permission from the copyright holder. Examples of third-party content may include, but are not limited to, tables, figures or images.
Photo rights (further permission required for reuse):
Any queries regarding rights and licences should be addressed to:
Nordic Council of Ministers/Publication Unit
Ved Stranden 18
Nordic co-operation is one of the world’s most extensive forms of regional collaboration, involving Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland.
Nordic co-operation has firm traditions in politics, economics and culture and plays an important role in European and international forums. The Nordic community strives for a strong Nordic Region in a strong Europe.
Nordic co-operation promotes regional interests and values in a global world. The values shared by the Nordic countries help make the region one of the most innovative and competitive in the world.
The Nordic Council of Ministers
Ved Stranden 18
Read more Nordic publications on www.norden.org/publications