Carbon capture from energy-from-waste (EfW): A low-hanging fruit for CCS deployment in the UK?

Energy-from-waste (EfW) is a waste treatment process that combusts residual waste after re-use, recycling and composting to produce energy in the form of electricity and/or heat. In the UK, the EfW sector contributes around 3% of total national power output, but also 3.5% of overall territorial GHG emissions, making its decarbonisation critical. CCS has emerged as a promising decarbonisation solution. As waste is composed of fossil and biogenic content, retrofitting EfW with CCS has the potential to reduce emissions (by capturing fossil CO2) but also generate valuable negative emissions (by capturing biogenic CO2) which can contribute to the UK’s negative emissions targets.

This study evaluates the business case for CCS in the UK EfW sector and assesses the technical feasibility of installing carbon capture technology at the facility level, taking the entire UK fleet into account. This work also identifies different methods to transport CO2 from EfW facilities to the nearest storage sites, using transport cost and emissions intensity of different transport modes (pipeline, rail, truck, ship) as metrics to evaluate what is economically feasible, and emissions-wise acceptable.

 

By: Hasan Muslemani , Ryan Cownden , Mathieu Lucquiaud