Addressing climate change and the sustainable management of waste are increasingly important societal challenges as recognized by the Paris Agreement and the EU Action Plan for a Circular
Economy Package. The use of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technologies in Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plants can greatly reduce CO2 emissions from waste incineration to the atmosphere. Because a fraction of the carbon in waste is from biogenic origin, such technology, called Bioenergy with CCS (BECCS or BioCCS), creates a carbon sink over its lifecycle resulting in so?called "negative CO2 emissions". Conventional BECCS based on biomass can be conflictual with regard to food security or land availability if deployed at too large scale, which is not the case when the feedstock is waste. The potential for CCUS from WtE is growing in Europe and worldwide as landfill sites are phased out.
NEWEST-CCUS is a multi-country project coordinated by Edinburgh University funded by the ERA-NET Cofund ACT ? Accelerating CCS Technologies program, where SINTEF Energi AS is the leader of the Norwegian sub-project. The aim of NEWEST-CCUS is to accelerate the development and deployment of CO2 capture technologies that are tailored for effective operation at WtE plants. In particular, NEWEST-CCUS will de-risk promising technologies for CO2 capture at WtE plants and deliver a reliable methodology for accounting for negative emissions associated with successful implementation of CCUS in the WtE sector. Ultimately, NEWEST-CCUS aims to deliver European innovation that will establish CCUS for WtE as a substantial contributor to global climate change mitigation. Expanding the range of fuel sources that are ready to use in combination with CCUS will create high quality jobs and respond to climate change concerns.
The innovation focus is on progressing TRL of several promising technologies for WtE sites with a combination of pilot-scale testing and modelling. In particular, the project will focus on developing:
- Solvent-based post-combustion capture and, in particular, knowledge and technologies that address the need to handle a more diverse range of combustion impurities in challenging fuel flue gases associated with typical WtE plants.
- Oxy-firing technologies, focussing on both circulating fluidized bed technology and grate fired boilers.
- Membrane based CO2 separation, considering also its combination as hybrid method using partial flue gas recirculation and oxygen enrichment.
Additionally, a comparative assessment of these technologies will provide key metrics for the sector, policymakers, regulators and technology developers. Metrics that will be considered include waste conversion, thermal efficiency, feedstock versatility, biogenic carbon content of feedstock, potential market penetration based on geographical mapping, size of plants and timescale, suitability for retrofits, and environmental impact assessment.
The main 2021 activities have focussed on:
-Advancing the process architecture of a WtE in oxy-fuel mode, particularly the amount of flue gases to be recirculated and how it should be distributed in the grate furnace.
-Performing energy integration studies for the reference WtE plant with CCS for 3 operational models: only power, medium CHP and complete CHP. This work is done is close cooperation with Univ of Edinburgh.
-Studying post-combustion capture using membrane assisted liquefaction capture for WtE flue gas conditions for commercial membrane from MTR. In 2022, the focus will be on showing the potential of membrane based post-combustion capture compared to MEA.
The focus of the NEWEST-CCS project is on an emerging market for CCS: the Waste to Energy Sector.
Waste to Energy is a growing sector across Europe in the context of phasing out landfill sites, with a yet to be characterised potential for negative emissions. NEWEST-CCS will assess the size of a potential European market for CCS in the sector and the cumulative net CO2 removal from atmosphere in Europe from waste combustion with CCS and landfill gas combustion with CCS. The innovation focus is on progressing TRL of technologies for greenfield and retrofit sites, with a combination of pilot-scale testing, modelling and testing at industrial sites. The project is linked to two newly awarded projects in partner countries and co-applicants: CapeWaste in Norway led by SER, and NuCA in Germany led by USTUTT, and thus form a platform for promoting the various capture technologies applicable to the WtE sector. In particular:
- Oxy-combustion in grate fired boilers, the conventional combustion method for challenging fuels, and in circulating fluidised beds, a technology with a potential for higher efficiency with Solid Recovered Fuels
- Solvent-based post-combustion capture: the project will evaluate a generic amine system representative of commercially available technologies with challenging fuels, and a 3rd generation solvent tailored for the handling of combustion impurities from challenging fuel flue gases and low-capex process configuration suited for medium-sized WtE thermal plants.
A comparative assessment of these technologies will provide key metrics for the sector, policymakers, regulators and developers, such as waste conversion, thermal efficiency, feedstock versatility, carbon negativity of feedstock, potential market penetration based on geographical mapping, size of plants and timescale, suitability for retrofits, environmental impact assessment and life cycle analysis