The Carbon Corner - Issue #63

Welcome to our latest environmental and energy news roundup! In this edition, we'll cover a wide range of topics, from Denmark's groundbreaking carbon capture and storage project by Ørsted to the challenges and opportunities of sustainable aviation fuels in the U.S. Midwest. We'll also dive into Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods' response to criticisms from the International Energy Agency and explore the exciting partnership between Cory Group and Viking CCS in the UK. These stories highlight the dynamic developments in the environmental and energy sectors, paving the way for a sustainable future.

Revolutionizing CO2 Transportation: Cory Group Joins Viking CCS Initiative

Cory Group, a leading player in the UK's recycling and waste management sector, is teaming up with Viking CCS, Harbour Energy, bp, ABP, and others for a collaboration focused on carbon capture and storage. The initiative centers on Viking CCS, a CO2 transportation and storage network in the Humber region, with plans to transport and store CO2 emissions from Cory's energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities. Cory currently operates an EfW facility in Bexley, diverting nearly 790,000 tonnes of waste from landfill last year and is developing its second facility, Riverside 2, with carbon capture technology integration to capture around 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030.

The partnership involves shipping the captured CO2 to the Port of Immingham and then transporting it to Viking's depleted gas fields in the southern North Sea. This approach aligns with the UK Government's commitment to non-pipeline transportation for CCUS clusters.

Exxon CEO Challenges Criticism of Carbon Capture at COP28 Climate Summit

Exxon Mobil CEO, Darren Woods, has dismissed the International Energy Agency's (IEA) recent claim that large-scale carbon capture is an implausible solution for fighting climate change, comparing it to criticisms made about electric vehicles (EVs) and solar energy. Speaking at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, Woods argued that there is currently no single solution at the scale required to address the climate problem. While carbon capture projects are limited due to their high costs, EVs have already gained a 13% share of the global new vehicle market, and solar and wind energy deployments continue to expand.

This marks the first time an Exxon CEO has attended a UN-sponsored climate summit, indicating a broader industry effort to reposition oil and gas companies as part of the solution to climate change. The role of carbon capture technology and fossil fuels is a central theme at the conference.

The IEA, in a report issued just before COP28, criticized oil and gas companies that claim emissions from fossil fuels can be offset by carbon capture, calling it an "illusion" and a "moment of truth" for the industry. Exxon has invested $17 billion in its low carbon business, emphasizing that greenhouse gas emissions are the root cause of climate change. Woods believes that oil and gas will continue to play an "important role" until 2050 but did not provide a demand estimate.

As part of its low carbon strategy, Exxon announced a $4.9 billion acquisition of Denbury, including a carbon dioxide pipeline network for carbon burial in the Gulf of Mexico. The company has secured contracts to reduce around 5 million tons of CO2 annually and aims to profit from U.S. subsidies for carbon capture and sequestration, although returns are expected to take a few years.

Ørsted Launches Denmark's First Full-Scale Carbon Capture Project for Cleaner Energy

Ørsted is embarking on a significant carbon capture project in Denmark, marking the country's first full-scale endeavor of this kind. The project will involve the construction of two carbon capture facilities, one at the Asnæs Power Station in Kalundborg and the other at the straw-fired unit of the Avedøre Power Station in Greater Copenhagen. The Danish Energy Agency awarded a 20-year contract to this initiative in May 2023. From early 2026, it is anticipated that these facilities will capture 430,000 tonnes of biogenic CO2 annually from the two combined heat and power plants, contributing significantly to Denmark's climate targets for 2025 and 2030 by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the Avedøre Power Station on December 4, 2023, to mark the commencement of construction. The project, known as the 'Ørsted Kalundborg CO2 Hub,' aims to capture and store the equivalent of annual carbon emissions from around 200,000 petrol-powered cars. Ørsted will capture 150,000 tonnes of biogenic CO2 yearly from the straw-fired unit at Avedøre Power Station, initially transporting it by lorry to Asnæs Power Station until a shared pipeline infrastructure is established across Zealand. The wood chip-fired unit at Asnæs Power Station will capture 280,000 tonnes of biogenic CO2 per year and serve as a hub for transporting carbon from both power plants to the Northern Lights storage reservoir in the Norwegian part of the North Sea. The wood chips used in this process come from sustainably managed sources, contributing to the project's environmental sustainability.

Carbon Capture Crucial for Ethanol's Role in Sustainable Aviation Fuel, Says U.S. Agriculture Secretary

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has emphasized the importance of carbon capture and storage for ethanol plants in the U.S. Midwest to play a role in the growing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) market. The ethanol industry is looking to reduce emissions through CCS and carbon pipelines to qualify its fuel as a feedstock for SAF, but these efforts have faced resistance from landowners fearing land damage or eminent domain. While one CCS pipeline project was canceled, two others from Wolf Carbon Solutions and Summit Carbon Solutions have encountered significant obstacles. To qualify for tax credits, SAF producers must demonstrate a 50% emissions reduction compared to gasoline.

Vilsack stressed that using biofuels to produce SAF requires CCS technology, and he anticipates a U.S. Treasury decision by year-end that could facilitate subsidies for ethanol-derived SAF. He mentioned that he hasn't discussed carbon pipelines with the White House due to his son's role as general counsel for Summit Carbon Solutions, aiming to avoid complicating matters for him. This situation underscores the challenges and debates surrounding CCS infrastructure in the ethanol industry's pursuit of sustainable aviation fuel.

Schaper Energy Consulting is a professional engineering firm offering carbon strategy services to CCS site developers. Check out some examples of our projects here:

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We hope you enjoyed reading this week and hope to see you back next week for more!

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