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CCS technology could have significant role in reducing Finnish greenhouse gas emissions

According to VTT´s preliminary calculations a reduction of 10...30% of Finland´s carbon dioxide emissions could be achieved with CCS technology by 2050. However, this requires that the price for emission allowances rises to 70...90 euro per tonne carbon dioxide by 2050.

CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) technology is an efficient method for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the future. In CCS, carbon dioxide is captured at a power plant or an industrial facility, after which it is purified, pressurised and transported to a long-term storage site by pipeline or ship.

The development of CCS is currently being strongly pursued worldwide. The large amounts of carbon dioxide that would need to be captured and transported, the uncertainties and responsibilities related to long-term storage of as well as high costs for CCS are the main challenges for CCS.

In the CCS Finland project (2008–2011), coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, GTK Geological Survey of Finland and VTT have investigated the possibilities for application of CCS in Finnish conditions. Application of CCS has been studied both from a national energy system perspective and in facility-specific detail by three case studies.

The results from the project indicate that CCS could have a significant role also in reducing the Finnish greenhouse gas emissions, assuming that the price for emission allowances rises high enough due to stringent emission reduction targets. According to VTT’s preliminary calculations a reduction of 10–30% of Finland’s carbon dioxide emissions could be achieved with CCS technology by 2050. However, this requires that the price level for emission allowances rises to 70–90 euros per tonne carbon dioxide by 2050. The current level is 15 – 20 euros per tonne.

Significant emission reduction could be achieved by applying CCS to a few large industrial facilities, power plants and combined heat and power plants. The largest Finnish carbon dioxide emission sources are power plants, steel plants and oil refineries. In addition, the biogenic carbon dioxide emissions from biofuel refineries and large power plants could also be captured. Two fifths of the carbon dioxide emissions from large facilities in Finland originate from combustion of biomass, which is defined as a carbon neutral fuel by the EU Emission Trading Scheme. Three fifths originate from the use of coal, natural gas, oil and peat.

Carbon dioxide capture by oxy-fuel combustion is seen as a promising technology for Finland, both from a perspective of application and technology export. New power plants that are built after 2020 will include reservations for installing carbon dioxide capture later on (i.e. “capture ready”). For many industrial facilities – steel plants, fuel refineries, cement plants and lime kilns – CCS is one of the few methods for considerably reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Implementing CCS tecnology in Finland requires that the captured carbon dioxide is transported abroad for storage, because no geological formations suitable for long-term storage of carbon dioxide have been found in Finland. The closest most potential formations for storage of carbon dioxide are located in the North Sea and the Barents Sea. Almost all of the largest Finnish carbon dioxide emitting facilities are located on the coast line, from where carbon dioxide is most cost effectively transported by ships. The long transportation distance makes CCS more expensive to implement in Finland than, for instance, in Norway or many continental European countries.

CCS seminar in Hanasaari, Espoo on the 11 November 2010

VTT organises on the 11th of November an international seminar at Hanasaari, Espoo, where the developments in carbon capture and storage is presented. The seminar is arranged in the framework of the CCS Finland project, part of the ClimBus programme of Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, and the preliminary results from the project is presented at the seminar. The seminar gives an overall picture of the current developments in CCS and shows which possibilties CCS brings to the energy and technology industry. Also, the role of CCS in Finland is discussed. Both international and Finnish technology developers and demonstration programs are presented.

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