5 National case study of BECCS: Sweden

This section provides a case study previously presented in a report in Swedish from Biorecro, depicting the case for BECCS in Sweden.53

5.1 Swedish conditions

Due to the large amount of biomass that is processed in the pulp and paper industry as well as the use of biomass for energy production, there are several large point sources of biogenic CO2 in Sweden. The combined emissions from the 61 largest Swedish biomass processing and combustion plants are over 31 million tonnes of biogenic CO2 per year. This could be compared to the total GHG emissions in Sweden in 2008, which were 64 million tonnes CO2 equivalents, of which fossil CO2 accounted for 50 million tonnes.54 Because of hydro and nuclear power, Sweden has less than one million tonnes of coal fired power emissions annually, with large parts of emissions coming from the industry and transportation sectors.

The geological formations underlaying Sweden is predominantly non-porous rock, and therefore the opportunity for CO2 storage in Sweden is not very favourable. Suitable conditions for CO2 storage are only present in the south western part of Skåne, and in sections of the Baltic Sea outside of the island of Gotland. However, there are very good opportunities for CO2 storage in the Norwegian part of the North Sea, as demonstrated at the Sleipner CCS demonstration. The storage potential in the Norwegian formations is estimated to at least 29 billion tonnes of CO2, and could possibly be even larger.55 This is equivalent to thousands of years of Swedish biogenic emissions.

Even though the Swedish capacity for storage is small by international standards, it is estimated to be as much as 1 600 million tonnes of CO2, in formations situated in the very south of the country. This capacity represents hundreds of years of local emissions from the industries in Skåne, the southernmost region. CO2 could also be stored in nearby Denmark, with an estimated capacity of 16 billion tonnes.56

5.2 Cost, capacity and potential

From an international perspective, the costs of climate mitigation in Sweden are relatively high. In order to put the costs and potentials into context, BECCS deployment was compared to results in earlier studies of costs for Swedish CO2 emission reductions. It was shown that BECCS would have a larger impact than all other Swedish measures combined, at a cost less than one thousand SEK per tonne (approx €110/tonne), which is the current level of the domestic Swedish carbon tax.

Using existing technology, CO2 from Swedish biogenic sources could be separated and shipped by boat to Norwegian storage formations. Storage in the North Sea has been applied successfully for more than ten years and CO2 is shipped by boat across the Baltic Sea already today, see Figure 22.

Figure 22 Overview biogenic CO2 sources in Sweden (and Norway) and storage possibilities in Scandinavia, which predominantly are found in Norway.

At a cost of 700-900 Swedish crowns (approx. €75-95) per tonne, 27.5 million tonnes of CO2 from Swedish biogenic sources could be stored annually by 2020. The potential amount increases to 30.0 million tonnes per year by 2030, while the cost is estimated to decrease by several hundred crowns per tonne.57 For smaller plants, where CO2 is captured from ethanol production and black liquor gasification, and the emissions are in the range of 400 000 to 2 million tonnes of CO2 per year, it is expected that costs below 500 Swedish crowns (approx. €45) per tonne might be achieved by 2020.

According to several studies, BECCS is a promising technology for achieving domestic climate targets in Sweden. The cost of BECCS is estimated to be lower than the current domestic carbon tax (€110/tonne), and is expected to be far below the future cost of CO2 mitigation in the transportation sector. Compared with the costs of alternative measures to reduce emissions of CO2 in the transportation sector, BECCS could save 20-50 billion crowns per year.58

Figure 23 BECCS in combination with a low carbon pathway for Sweden (total GHG emissions in millions of tonnes CO2e)

When BECCS is implemented in combination with a low carbon pathway model, it was showed that Sweden could reach net zero emissions already by 2030. Thereafter, a number of measures, in combination with BECCS, can allow Sweden to achieve net negative emissions. In other words, Sweden can become a nation which removes CO2 from the atmosphere on a net basis, see Figure 23.

Finally, it should be noted that despite the great potential, there are currently no measures, initiatives or incentives to deploy the BECCS technology in Sweden. Even though there is a relatively high carbon tax, negative emissions with BECCS are not incentivised by a carbon tax (since there are no taxable fossil emissions in the first place), and there is presently no funding or plans to build pilots and demonstrations.

53 Karlsson et al., 2010

54 Naturvårdsverket, 2010

55 Elforsk 04:27, 2004

56 Tel-Tek, 2008

57 Karlsson et al, 2010

58 Karlsson et al, 2010