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Study highlights potential of CCUS in UK ERFs

Study highlights potential of CCUS in UK ERFs
In the UK Veolia currently operates ten Energy Recovery facilities (ERFs) with a combined installed power capacity of 180 MWe processing around 2.3 million tonnes of non-recyclable waste annually (photo courtesy Veolia).

In the UK, global resource management company Veolia has launched a site feasibility study ahead of a pilot project to use innovative carbon capture processes in its energy recovery facilities (ERFs). The captured and purified carbon dioxide can then be used as a feedstock to create synthetic green end products, such as electro-fuels (eFuels), and specialty chemical products.

Engineered by Veolia’s in-house design teams, the system uses Advanced Amine technologies to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the combustion of non-recyclable biogenic waste, which makes up about 60 percent of the total CO2 emissions generated as a result of the incineration process.

The CO2 can be combined with green hydrogen to create electro-fuels (eFuel) such as eMethanol and eSustainable Aviation Fuel (eSAF), reducing the carbon intensity of shipping and aviation.

As part of the highly innovative project, the CCUS technology can be seamlessly integrated into existing ERFs, resulting in near-zero, or even negative, CO2 emission power generation, thus significantly improving the environmental and energy balances of municipal waste incineration.

This latest innovation marks a major step forward in our ability to utilize non-recyclable waste and captured CO2 to create the next generation of fuels. This development, combined with greater recycling and the removal of plastics from waste streams,  will further reduce carbon emissions from ERF. It will also make a major contribution to meeting net-zero targets that protect the environment for the future, and support our commitment to achieve ecological transformation, said Donald Macphail, Chief Operating Officer of Treatment at Veolia.

Four-stage process

The Advanced Amine Carbon Capture process has four major stages. Firstly the flue gas is cooled, and trace pollutants are removed before the amine solvent captures the CO2 and the clean flue gases are returned to the flue.

The solvent is then heated with steam produced by the ERF which produces a CO2-rich stream whilst also regenerating the solvent for circulating it back to the absorption process.

The CO2  is dehydrated and compressed to produce a nearly 100 percent pure CO2 stream which can be used to create new products or stored.

Significant potential

Veolia currently operates ten ERFs in the UK. These facilities take around 2.3 million tonnes of non-recyclable waste annually and transform this into electricity for over 400,000 homes.

This combined generating capacity of 180 MWe takes the pressure off the stretched UK electrical grid and effectively avoids using fossil fuels for generation.

Some of these facilities also produce heating for communities through district heating networks, by using combined heat and power technology.

The pioneering carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) implementation project has the potential to enable Veolia’s Energy Recovery Facilities in the UK to make carbon savings of over 100,000 tonnes per year.

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