Shipping CO2 provides flexibility to reach storage sites

Publish date: May 3, 2022

For the ongoing campaign of #TenTTuesday, Bellona Europa and Clean Air Task Force (CATF) hosted an event on the 6th of April: Transport of CO2 to Permanent Storage: A Missing Piece in Europe’s Industrial Decarbonisation Plan. The event brought together different actors on the topic,one representative being Kim Bye Bruun, communications and government relations director of Northern Lights. Northern Lights is the world’s first open source CO2 storage project that has the capacity to store 1.5 million tons of CO2 per year.

With two customers already onboard, Norcem cement in Brevik and Fortum Oslo Varme waste-to-energy plant, the first phase of permanent storage with a flexible ship-based transportation is set to be ready by 2024.  Bruun made time to go through the current state of development and planned future extensions to accommodate bigger ships.

Talking on transportation requirements around Europe, Bruun said, “Storage capacity is unevenly distributed across Europe and for that reason we need CO2 transportation”. Showing a map of Europe’s large point sources and the storage capacities nearby to illustrate, adding: “It illustrates the mismatch between large point emission sources and where the storage is located”.

The storage site is in the North sea with a CO2 receiving terminal at Øygarden. Transportation dependent on ships, and Northern Lights is even looking to extend their number of ships from 2 to 11 in future phases. Showing what the North European shipping network would look like in the 2030’s, Bruun highlighted how shipping changes distances: “In the case of Northern Lights, the transport distance to some of our neighboring countries is significantly longer than going to central Europe”

When highlighting the opportunity for CO2 transportation, Bruun brought up three major points. Firstly, 10 gigatons per annum (Gtpa) of CO2 needs to be captured by 2070, secondly, large industrial installations in Europe emit around 1.3 Gtpa and finally, seaborne trade is estimated to be 11 Gtpa. These points lead to a new CO2 shipping segment in the making.

Talking about the need  to realize sufficient CO2 storage, Bruun said, “We believe we need recognition and support also in Europe in order to develop capacity, to take the emissions that will need to be captured over the decade”. Focusing on what role transportation by multiple modalities plays in that he said, “the ship-based solution provides flexibility, to reach at least 350 industrial emitters across Europe and maybe more. They have total emissions of around 300 million tons per year. That itself illustrates the opportunity, and that needs to be recognized”

A key to industrial decarbonisation  in Europe is connecting industrial emitters to suitable storage sites for CO2. This can be facilitated through large-scale development and deployment of a CO2 transport and storage network. Imbalance of access exists across EU member states, and by including multiple transport modalities to the ongoing Ten-T revision, equitable access is enabled, bringing about industrial  decarbonisation across Europe.



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