Veolia to pilot carbon capture for its ‘energy from waste’ sites

Veolia has launched a site feasibility study ahead of a pilot project to use carbon capture processes in energy from waste (EFW) plants in the UK.
The system uses amine technologies to capture carbon emissions from the combustion of non recyclable biogenic waste, which is present in about 60% of the carbon dioxide emissions generated as a result of the incineration process. The biogenic carbon dioxide can be combined with green hydrogen to create fuels such as eMethanol, eKerosene speciality chemical products.
The feasibility study is due for completion in the next few months with the eventual aim to develop the solution on sites by 2028 – 2030.
The CCUS technology can be integrated into all existing sites, improving the environmental and energy balances of municipal waste incineration.
The Advanced Amine Carbon Capture process has four stages. The flue gas is cooled and trace pollutants removed before the amine solvent captures the CO2 and clean flue gases are returned to the flue. The solvent is then heated with steam from the plant, which produces a CO2-rich stream and regenerates the solvent for circling it back to the absorption process. The CO2 is dehydrated and compressed to produce a nearly 100% pure CO2 stream which can be used to create new products or stored.
Veolia’s ten operates ten EfW plants in the UK, which take around 2.3 Mt of non-recyclable waste and together have an electricity generating capacity of 180MW.

2 comments for “Veolia to pilot carbon capture for its ‘energy from waste’ sites

  1. David Dundas
    February 16, 2024 at 10:01 AM

    The present Veolia waste incinerators burn general waste which contains a high proportion of fossil organic waste such as plastics, including some PVC which when burnt produces measurable amounts of toxic chlorinated dioxines and furans. The incinerator exhaust therefore contains a significant amount of fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) a greenhouse gas, so capturing it to use it to create hydrocarbons does not make it fossil carbon free and the products should not be labelled with “e” before their name.
    Veolia would be better processing the waste in anaerobic digesters that do not “burn” any plastics in the feedstock so they can be separated out for landfill or reprocessing, and the resulting biomethane which does not contain fossil carbon, reused, for example split into “green” hydrogen and green CO2 that does not add to atmospheric CO2.

    • James
      May 3, 2024 at 8:52 AM

      As with Power CCS, roughly 30% of the energy which an energy from waste facility produces would be used in the process of capturing its post-combustion CO2. The percentage would depend partly on the (variable) quality of the waste. Government plans for Net Zero (now very out-of-date) assume at least 90% of that CO2 would be permanently removed. Planning applications which propose to capture at such rates may be disingenuous (and subsequent contracts may therefore be judged void). Evidence from the very few facilities operating commercially worldwide indicates that those percentages are implausibly optimistic.
      Any subsidy would presumably depend on how much CO2 is actually geologically stored. The amount stored would depend on contract arrangements with the storage site owner – which cannot guarantee permanence (availability may also be a concern) and might find it commercially more expedient to rent space to others (including from outside the UK) for a higher price.
      Far less waste is likely to be produced in the near future as economies and aspirations contract – especially given the steep increase in prices required to reflect the climate, biodiversity and plastic / waste emergencies (and the related imperative of fair allocation). That rise in prices would increase the viability of recycling, further undermining justification for energy from waste facilities.

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