Stockholm Exergi develops BECCS

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Stockholm Exergi’s bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) Stockholm project will create a world-class, full-scale BECCS facility at its existing heat and power biomass plant in the Swedish capital. Daniel Löfstedt, press manager, explores the company’s activity and ambitions.
Stockholm Exergi's project, which received financial support from the European Innovation Fund, will be one of Europe's first large-scale plants to generate negative emissions, leading to the issuing of Carbon Removal Certificates which can then be traded on the market. It is scheduled to become operational in 2026.
Beccs Stockholm will make use of a novel combination of existing technologies (Hot Potassium Carbonate for CCS and bio-fueled CHP) on a new scale, to develop the first, large commercial BECCS plant in Europe.
The HPC technology is well proven with multiple installations over the years. Its application with flue-gases from a bio-fueled CHP-plant is, however, not tested in full scale. Therefore, Stockholm Exergi has designed, constructed and now operates a smaller-scale R&D facility at the plant site with support from the Swedish Energy Agency with the objective to gain practical experience and results before designing the full-scale plant.
The Beccs Stockholm implementation will represent the first-of-a-kind global integration of CO2 capture in an existing combined heat and power (CHP) plant that uses biomass-based fuels.
By using the excess heat of the CO2 capture facility to supply Stockholm’s district heating network, the extra energy required for the CCS process (i.e. the energy penalty) will be greatly reduced. This energy penalty is normally in the range of 15-29%, of the energy produced, while Beccs Stockholm will reduce it to a mere 2%. Importantly, 90% of the CO2 in the flue gas will be captured by use of the HPC technology.
Bioenergy Insight observed that, as part of its research and development activities, Stockholm Exergi is working on how BECCS can make a more substantive contribution to supporting national and international climate objectives.
“Our goal is to be the largest producer of negative emissions in Europe,” said Löfstedt. “It’s also really important that Beccs Stockholm can inspire similar projects involving both biogenic carbon capture and storage and fossil CCS – we are in the front, and more need to follow.
“Practically all key learnings from Stockholm Exergi’s Beccs Stockholm project can benefit not only energy companies developing pure biogenic and combined capture of CO2, but also companies in other industries developing post-combustion capture projects.”
The scaling up of carbon removal solutions that capture CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it for the long term is vital to achieve the EU objective of economy-wide Climate Neutrality by 2050.
Beccs Stockholm aims to support the achievement of this climate goal by capturing and storing almost 800 000 tonnes of biogenic CO2 per year, with the aim to further improve the technology in the future.
At site-level, the project will implement solutions in line with the Circular Economy Action Plan, using locally-sourced biomass waste, as a feedstock in the electricity and heat generating plant, reusing process water to eliminate or diminish the use of fresh water, and with the opportunity to supply sustainably managed forests with fly ash coming from the co-incineration of the current biomass waste with phosphorous-rich sludge, with the potential to increase Swedish forest sequestration of carbon by 0.45 Mt CO2eq per year.
Stockholm Exergi’s plans for a BECCS plant at the biofuel-fired CHP plant in Värtan are becoming increasingly well defined. In December 2019, the company inaugurated its research facility. The goal is that the research facility – together with an ongoing integration study – will provide sufficiently robust results to form the basis for Stockholm Exergi to invest in a large-scale facility.
“In our programme for the research facility, since 2019, we have set up different scenarios and created a very good research cycle,” Löfstedt told Bioenergy Insight. 

“We have refined the tests and have developed our carbon capture technology. All that work pushes us further towards being ready to build the large-scale facility. As early as the first operating season in 2019 we confirmed that BECCS technology works. The operating seasons since then have focused on fine-tuning.”
Bioenergy Insight then asked what kind of work is needed to install a BECCS plant at the biofuel-fired CHP plant in Värtan, and whether there is a timeline in place.
“We are still in preparatory phases but are steadily moving towards our investment decision which means that we are able to start the construction,” replied Löfstedt. “Our goal is to make the investment decision during 2024.”
Sustainable BECCS
Last October Stockholm Exergi released a “Methodology for sustainable BECCS”. Bioenergy Insight was curious to know more.
“We think there has been a missing piece about how a permanent BECCS removal need to be defined, explained Löfstedt. “Such a definition is, of course, essential for the voluntary market to start to make volume purchases of permanent carbon removal units. Without it, you would not know what you are buying.
“Stockholm Exergi, in cooperation with Drax and Eco Engineers, has therefore developed a methodology for sustainable BECCS.
"The methodology covers all important aspects of defining sustainable and permanent removals with BECCS: Project boundaries, Additionality, Baseline, Leakage, Quantification, Storage and permanence, Reporting, validation and verification and finally Criteria for Sustainable biomass."
McKinsey also assisted, and this collaboration came about because Stockholm Exergi, Drax and Eco Engineers identified the same need for a methodology.
They “agreed that if we could work together and bring in a professional consultant who could advise us on different approaches compatible with already established standards, we could produce a world-class methodology for sustainable BECCS that would be likely to get attention and influence the discussions on what a methodology for BECCS should look like.”
Government support
In terms of the Swedish government’s support for BECCS, Löfstedt said there is a proactive approach.
“The Swedish government is very positive towards the nascent BECCS industry in Sweden and is planning to hold a first reversed auction in which supportive funding will be allocated to producers of BECCS,” he said.
“The government has expressed support to the whole Swedish future BECCS-industry. The EU also has a positive view on BECCS and sees a need for it in order to tackle climate change, Stockholm Exergi’s project is supported by the EU’s Innovation Fund and receives €180 million in EU funding.”

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