Questions and answers about CCS and the support system
Here we have gathered questions and answers about CCS in general and the support system for BECCS in particular.
What is CCS
CCS is the abbreviation of Carbon Capture and Storage. The technology is used to capture carbon dioxide from flue gases in, for example, industrial processes. When captured, the carbon dioxide is stored deep below the seabed or the ground in geological formations to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.
What is BECCS?
BECCS is the process of extracting bioenergy from biomass, and then capturing and storing the biogenic carbon dioxide. During its lifetime, the biomass is extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when it grows. Examples of biomass used in BECCS are forest residues and wood chips.
Why is Sweden investing in BECCS?
Sweden has a good starting point for implementing BECCS due to its large point source pollution of biogenic carbon dioxide and several industrial actors are already investing in the development of this technology.
For Sweden to achieve its climate goals, negative emissions are needed. Today, there is no business model for this. At the same time, BECCS technology results in costs for the companies through loss of production or increased energy use, which means that they will need state aid in the initial development phase.
Where should the captured carbon dioxide be stored?
No final decisions have been made on where to store the captured carbon dioxide. However, in 2021, the Swedish Energy Agency was tasked with drafting a proposal for a bilateral storage agreement with Norway on behalf of the Swedish government. If it is decided that Swedish carbon dioxide shall be stored in Norway, it will be deep below the seabed in geological formations in the North Sea.
Later, storage in other countries can come in question for the export of Swedish carbon dioxide. These countries must have an industry, as well as the required expertise, in the field of offshore and oil/natural gas, which lay the foundation for a secure storage process. A permanent storage site on Swedish territory lies far in the future and will require the building of a new industrial sector with the required competence and experience.
Is there a risk of carbon dioxide leakage?
There is always a risk of leakages. Regarding CCS, this risk is greatest during the transport and injection phases. To minimise the risk, extensive regulations are making sure that precautionary measures are being taken during all CCS stages.
In addition, there is also a great deal of experience available to learn from. Risk minimisation during transportation of natural gas, for instance. Also, there are countries which have had permanently stored carbon dioxide for several decades, such as Norway, in its Sleipner and Snøhvit fields.
The Swedish Energy Agency is proposing a support system for BECCS in the shape of reversed auctioning, what does that mean?
The actor who can capture and store carbon dioxide at the lowest cost wins the auction and receives the state aid from the Swedish Energy Agency.
Who can receive the support?
Companies with carbon dioxide emissions of biogenic origin, such as pulp and paper industries or a combined heat and power supplier, can participate in the reversed auction.
How do you apply for the support?
Companies with carbon dioxide emissions of biogenic origin are eligible to participate in the reversed auction. The actor or actors that submit the winning bid can receive state aid that covers the costs for capture, transport and storage. The support can also cover investment and operating costs.
The Swedish Energy Agency will, well in advance before the auction is announced, inform about the details for how the actual auctioning procedure will be carried out.
Why can’t interested companies pay for this themselves?
At present, there is no market for BECCS. Nor is there a profitability in it. The implementation of the technology will be costly, both in terms of production losses and increased energy use.
BECCS is a long-term investment, and it will take time to construct the facilities and infrastructures that need to be in place if Sweden is to reach its climate goal of net zero emissions by 2045. Therefore, state aid is needed in the initial development phase of BECCS.
How great is the potential for BECCS in Sweden?
According to the Swedish Government Official Report 2020:4, The road to a carbon neutral future, Sweden has the potential of at least 10 million tonnes of biogenic carbon dioxide per year, in a 2045 perspective.
Why does not the support system include CCS on fossil energy sources?
The support system aims at enabling BECCS as a complementary measure and to achieve negative emissions. CCS on fossil energy sources can contribute to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but not achieve negative emissions. Support for both types of CCS technology can, however, be applied for within the Swedish Energy Agency's initiative the Green Industry Leap. Being a National Centre, the Swedish Energy Agency is also to enable deployment of all types of CCS in Sweden.
Will Swedish captured carbon dioxide be used to gain access to more oil and natural gas (viz., EOR/EGR)?
No. The carbon dioxide exported from Swedish facilities may not – at any stage of the CCS chain – be used to gain access to more oil and/or natural gas. This will be ensured in bilateral storage agreements with each country considered for permanent storage of captured carbon dioxide.