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Ørsted, Microsoft, Aker Carbon Capture agree to develop BECCS

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Ørsted, Microsoft, and Aker Carbon Capture have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore ways to support the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) at biomass-fired heat and power plants in Denmark, also known as BECCS.

CCS is ‘widely accepted’ as an important instrument to meet both the Danish climate targets of 70% carbon reduction by 2030 and to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global temperature increases to 1.5oC.

By capturing the carbon emitted by biomass-fired heat and power plants and storing underground, it is possible to not only reduce but also remove carbon from the atmosphere, as carbon from sustainable biomass is part of a natural biogenic carbon cycle.

Under the terms of the MoU, the three companies agreed to:

  • Explore the possibility of jointly developing a negative-emissions project at one of Ørsted’s biomass plants in Denmark, potentially using Northern Lights where Microsoft is an existing partner;

  • Explore a technology collaboration to integrate Microsoft’s digital expertise into biogenic carbon capture project with Aker Carbon Capture’s health, safety, and environment-friendly technology;

  • Explore ways for Microsoft, Aker Carbon Capture, and Ørsted to jointly accelerate the development of a biogenic carbon capture project;

  • Explore and establish advocacy of policies that help accelerate the negative emission frameworks in European countries.


Ole Thomsen, senior vice-president at Ørsted, said: “Carbon capture will most likely be an important part of the green transition, and we see opportunities for capturing the carbon at some of our biomass-fired heat and power plants and either store it underground to achieve negative emissions or use the carbon to produce green fuels in Power-to-X facilities.

“Therefore, we’re currently exploring the regulatory, technical, and economic possibilities of carbon capture at our facilities.”

Today, Ørsted has six biomass-fired units and provides around one-quarter of Denmark’s district heating. The biomass used as fuel at Ørsted’s heat and power plants comes from sustainably managed production forests and is surplus wood, such as sawdust from sawmills or residues from trimming or crooked trees. All the wood sourced by Ørsted comes from growth forests, which means the carbon emitted when the surplus wood is converted into bioenergy is recaptured by the forest within a few years.

Although Ørsted foresees that renewable technologies will play a substantial part in bioenergy in district heating towards 2040, it expects carbon capture at several biomass-fired units to play a key role in the energy transition.

“Partnership across sectors and digital innovation are key in the fight against climate change,” said Nana Bule, general manager at Microsoft Denmark and Iceland.

“The plan to achieve the Danish ambition of 70% carbon reduction by 2030 relies in part on CCS at scale, and we’re excited to support this alongside Orsted and Aker Carbon Capture.”