Ørsted awarded contract – will capture and store 430,000 tonnes of biogenic CO2

The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has awarded Ørsted a 20-year contract for our carbon capture and storage (CCS) project ‘Ørsted Kalundborg Hub’. The project entails Ørsted establishing carbon capture at our wood chip-fired Asnæs Power Station in Kalundborg in western Zealand and at our Avedøre Power Station’s straw-fired boiler in the Greater Copenhagen area.

In the battle against climate change we must use all available tools. We must not only reduce carbon emissions; we need to go one step further and remove carbon through negative emissions.

One of the ways negative emissions can be achieved is by capturing and storing carbon from biogenic sources. When sustainable biomass (e.g. straw or residual wood from sawmills) is used to produce green power and heat, the carbon bound in the biomass will be reemitted into the atmosphere. But if that carbon is captured and permanently stored, it'll count as a negative emission.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the negative carbon emissions that can be achieved play an important part in achieving the Danish climate goals for 2025 and 2030. Ørsted is proud to continue to contribute to a world that runs entirely on green energy and help reach both national and global climate goals with one of the world’s first and largest commercial projects to guarantee negative emissions.

Starting in 2025 - and at scale in 2026 - Ørsted will capture carbon from the Avedøre and Asnæs power stations. The captured carbon will then be sailed to Norway where it will be stored in a reservoir in the North Sea.

In total, we expect to capture 430,000 tonnes of carbon every year.

Partnering with Ørsted to achieve this ground-breaking climate feat are Microsoft, Aker Carbon Capture, and Northern Lights. Aker Carbon Capture will supply the technology to capture carbon, Northern Lights will transport, receive, and permanently store the CO₂ in a reservoir in the Norwegian part of the North Sea, and Microsoft will purchase carbon removal certificates.

See the Ørsted press release here

Read more about our partners:

About Microsoft
Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. The new partnership supports Microsoft's commitment to become carbon-negative by 2030.

About Aker Carbon Capture
Aker Carbon Capture is a pure-play carbon capture company with solutions, services, and technologies serving a range of industries with carbon emissions, including the cement, bio and waste-to-energy, gas-to-power, and blue hydrogen segments. Aker Carbon Capture’s proprietary, carbon-capture technology offers a unique, environmentally friendly solution for removing CO2 emissions.

About Northern Lights
Northern Lights is developing the world’s first open-source CO2 transport and storage infrastructure. Delivering CO2 transport and storage as a service, Northern Lights aims to enable decarbonisation of industrial emissions that can't be avoided and provide safe and permanent CO2 storage.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is a carbon hub?
    • A carbon hub is a hub for captured carbon from different emitters that will be transported for storage or utilisation. A carbon hub offers a combination of port facilities, heat offtake, access to existing energy infrastructure, and zones for industrial activities. Thus, a carbon hub is ideal for both CCS and CCU activities.
    • At Asnæs combined heat and power plant (CHP plant) we'll capture our own carbon and also ship from there, and we'll be able to help others handling and shipping their carbon.
    • We have the experience in capturing carbon, and we have the facilities to create Denmark's first carbon hub.

  • Why don’t you use the Danish storage facilities and support the creation of a new Danish industry?
    • To meet the tender criteria, we had to be sure that the storage facilities would be ready in 2025 already. The Northern Lights project will be completed in 2024 and is the most mature carbon storage site in the North Sea.
    • We have of course been in dialogue with Danish storage operators as well, and our choice of storage operator for this project won’t exclude other operators for future projects.
    • Licenses for onshore storage of carbon in Denmark won’t be awarded until 2024, which further proves that this wasn’t an option for this tender.
  • How much carbon is emitted during the handling and transportation of the carbon?
    • According to the current estimates for the project, there’s a total emission in the project value chain of approx. 23,000 tonnes per year, which corresponds to approx. 5 % of the collected 430,000 tonnes of carbon. This includes transport of carbon by truck and ship as well as emissions in connection with transport of fuel to the plants.
    • Transport of carbon by truck and ship will account for about 2.7 %, while the rest is emissions from handling and transport of fuel to the plants as well as consumption of materials for the structures, etc.
  • How can it make sense to transport the carbon by truck from Avedøre to Asnæs?
    • Avedøre Power Station will capture approx. 150,000 tonnes of carbon per year, which will initially be transported by truck. The current estimates are that truck transport of the 150,000 tonnes of carbon will have an annual emission of approx. 900 tonnes of carbon, which corresponds to approx. 0.6 % of the 150,000 tonnes of carbon transported from Avedøre Power Station to Asnæs Power Station.
    • Transport by truck is less harmful to the environment than the alternative, which would be freight by ship between the two power plants. In addition, the solution with truck transport provides greater flexibility – both in relation to the possibility of transport by electric trucks and to the flexibility for a possible switch to pipes.
    • We’re working with relevant stakeholders to identify and develop efficient carbon transport solutions, including shared infrastructure such as pipelines.
  • Several experts are weary of carbon capture on biomass, as this could extend the lifetime of CHPs that are being phased out. Don't they have a point?
    • Our carbon capture plans will not impact the lifetime of our biomass plants. The lifetime of our plants depends on the demand for district heating, power, and ancillary services.
    • Biomass consumption in Denmark will decrease in line with the increasing electrification of heat generation. According to the Danish Energy Agency, Denmark will, however, continue to need a certain amount of sustainable biomass – in combination with heat pumps, electric boilers, and Power-to-X plants – to maintain a high level of reliability of supply.
    • For those plants that have a long lifetime, it makes perfect sense to capture the carbon and either store it or use it for producing green fuels, as there’ll be a demand for biogenic carbon.
  • Wouldn’t it make more sense to use the carbon for producing green fuels instead of storing it in the ground?
    • These aren’t mutually exclusive. We still see considerable opportunities in utilising the biogenic carbon from our CHP plants to PtX.
    • CCS is a stepping stone for PtX based on biogenic carbon, as we’ll be able to utilise several parts of the CCS value chain for the PtX value chain.
    • We see CCS as a flexible option for storing biogenic carbon and delivering negative emissions while building PtX opportunities.
  • Do Ørsted’s carbon capture and storage projects lead to actual climate change mitigation?
    • Yes they do.
    • With Ørsted’s strict criteria for use of certified sustainable biomass, capturing and storing the biogenic carbon will deliver real and quantifiable mitigation of carbon. Through cooperation with recognised institutions, our carbon removals will be certified according to international carbon removal standards to ensure high integrity and transparency.
    • Beyond the requirements of the certification scheme, Ørsted is taking extra precautions through internal due diligence, screening of off-takers, and specific use restrictions to protect the certificates against use for other purposes than climate mitigation.
    • We acknowledge that using certificates for offsetting can only be a complementary tool to substantial emission reductions. The use of carbon removal certificates should comply with the mitigation hierarchy and only be used for residual emissions after other climate action.
  • Are Ørsted’s carbon capture projects additional – i.e. would they have been implemented in the absence of the generation and sale of carbon removal certificates?
    • Yes, our CCS projects are additional.
    • Though the Ørsted Kalundborg Hub has received funding from the Danish Government, the revenue from carbon removal certificates makes up a significant portion of the business case, and the project wouldn’t have been possible without the additional funding from the sales of carbon removal certificates.
    • Ørsted Kalundborg Hub complies with the general additionality criteria 1) financial additionality, meaning that the project is unfeasible without the revenue from the sales of carbon removal certificates, 2) regulatory additionality, meaning that the activity mustn’t be mandated by law, and 3) that it’s not common practice, as installing carbon capture is not a standard or common technical aspect of CHP plants.
    • The Ørsted Kalundborg Hub shows how private companies can contribute to realising ambitious climate projects and scaling new climate technologies.
  • Can Ørsted claim to generate climate-negative heat and power from its CHP plants when carbon certificates are sold to third parties?
    • No. When selling a carbon removal certificate to another company for use in their voluntary reporting, it’s recorded in the registry of an independent third party to ensure that the same carbon removal isn’t counted by two companies.
    • This means that e.g. our heat customers can’t claim climate negative district heating when Ørsted sells certificates to third parties.