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Wallhamn aims to be world’s first carbon negative port

Wallhamn aims to be world’s first carbon negative port
Founded in 2005, Wallhamn is one of Sweden's leading Ro-Ro ports where the core business consists of loading and unloading vehicles in preparation for onward transport to the Nordic markets (photo courtesy Wallhamn).

In Sweden, the Port of Wallhamn AB on the island of Tjörn has announced that it is plotting a course toward local production of energy and green shipping fuel, to build energy security that lasts into the future – and become the world's first carbon-negative port.

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The Municipality of Tjörn on the Swedish West Coast has made a principle decision; to enable the establishment of a facility for local energy production that is fossil-free, carbon negative, and contributes to climate change; together with companies Wallhamn AB and Boson Energy SA.

Luxembourg-headed Boson Energy has developed a technology for local energy production by using otherwise non-recyclable waste to produce electricity and green methanol. Green methanol replaces fossil methanol in the chemical and plastics industry, while also meeting the increasing demand as a fuel in the marine sector.

Both the electricity and fuel will be carbon negative, as Boson Energy’s process makes it possible to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) for utilization (carbon capture and utilization – CCU) or storage (CCS), in a clean and cost-effective way.

The company plans to serve Wallhamn’s growing need for energy and electricity for vehicle charging, as well as support the local power grid when needed.

The only solid residue from the conversion process is a glass slag.

The glass slag can be used directly, as an environmentally friendly filling material, or further processed into climate-smart insulation material with high circular resource efficiency.

Expand and transition operations

Wallhamn considers the project as an opportunity to expand its port operations and realize its goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-negative port. The production of local electricity means that not only all the port’s vehicles but also vehicles that are unloaded in the port will eventually be able to be charged and run fossil-free.

The planned availability of electricity is also expected to allow Wallhamn to expand the port electrification further, by offering shore power connection to arriving vessels.

This project creates very good conditions for our green transition and reliable energy supply – both for our own operations and for our customers. It will be an important part of growing our import/export business while at the same time achieving significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, the various products from Boson Energy’s integrated approach offer very interesting opportunities to develop the entire area around the port. For us, this is a flagship project, and many ports around the world are facing similar challenges, said Torbjörn Wedebrand, CEO at Wallhamn.

Green power, cooling, and carbon dioxide

As part of the project, Boson Energy has also entered into a cooperation agreement with Ecopromt AB to build an indoor farming facility for growing vegetables in the vicinity of the port.

Torbjörn Wedebrand(left), CEO Wallhamn AB, och Jan Grimbrandt, CEO Boson Energy SA (photo courtesy Boson Energy).

The concept that Ecopromt has developed and established, involves a circular and area-efficient vegetable production with no impact on the environment.

The company has been involved in developing a number of indoor farms in the United States (US) and is also working on the first indoor vegetable farm in Europe, which will be established in the second half of 2023.

By establishing the cultivation facility near Boson Energy’s facility; electricity, carbon dioxide, and cooling can be delivered directly to the facility; for energy and climate-efficient cultivation.

The Wallhamn project will allow us to demonstrate all aspects of our vision of circular sector coupling. It will show the autonomous and dynamic potential of our 24/7/365 system for the local production of electricity and green molecules – in phasing out fossil alternatives. The project will cut straight into sectors where it is difficult to decarbonize; such as marine fuels, the chemical industry, fertilizers, and ultimately even local food production with high-efficiency greenhouses. This project will become a global template that is relevant not only for ports but also for cities and any kinds of ‘islands’ – all of which face problems of energy access, costs, and fossil fuel footprints, said Jan Grimbrandt, Founder and CEO of Boson Energy.

Renewable energy and employment security

The municipality’s principle decision means that the parties will work to prepare for the establishment of the facilities.

For the municipality, this means, among other things, investigating the possibility of providing suitable industrial properties in areas covered by the ongoing detailed planning process.

The establishment of the proposed facilities is expected to begin in 2025 at the earliest. In total, the activities are expected to add 150-200 new job opportunities to the municipality.

Wallhamn AB is not only a major employer, but also an existing local infrastructure. It makes it possible for Tjörn to proactively take new steps to build local energy security and development opportunities for Wallhamn AB – which are both fossil-free and create sustainable jobs. With the municipality’s principle decision, we can now jointly investigate the possibilities to secure the port’s energy supply and create the conditions for new circular business opportunities, commented Martin Johansen, Chairman of the Municipal Board.

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