Seminar: CCS in Denmark


By Keith Burnard

24 May 2024

INNO-CCUS organised a seminar to showcase Denmark’s progress on CCS deployment. With CCS in Denmark set to play a key role in reducing emissions and meeting Danish climate targets, the seminar described the motivation behind Denmark’s ambitions and the country’s progress to-date in deploying CCS.

CCS in Denmark. New Haven in Copenhagen

On 14-15 May 2024, INNO-CCUS hosted IEAGHG’s 65th Executive Committee meeting in Copenhagen. To inform IEAGHG members and to take advantage of the presence of an international audience, the day prior to ExCo65, INNO-CCUS organised a seminar to showcase Denmark’s progress on CCS deployment. With CCS set to play a key role in reducing emissions and meeting Danish climate targets, the seminar described the motivation behind Denmark’s ambitions and the country’s progress to-date in deploying CCS.

Anders Hoffmann opened by describing Denmark’s policy case for CCS. Anders is Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Danish Ministry for Climate, Energy and Utilities and he is also Chair of the IEA’s Governing Board. Denmark has set targets of reducing its CO2 emissions by 70% (compared to the level in 1990) by 2030 and 110% by 2050. Alongside green solutions that include renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency, he pointed out that a broad majority of the Danish Parliament supports CCS as an essential tool in achieving these targets.

Strong and active cooperation between government, industry and the public have proven the foundations upon which progress has been made thus far. Denmark has great potential for a hub approach to capture and store CO2, with plans for both onshore and offshore storage. Over the past four years, the government has ratified several agreements to facilitate CCS implementation with further legislation in the offing. Bilateral agreements for cross-border CO2 transport have been reached with Belgium (2022), Netherlands (2023), France (2024), Norway (2024) and Sweden (2024).

Next up, the Danish Energy Agency’s Henrik Sulsbrück described progress with policy implementation. Following revision of the ‘sub-soil act’ to encompass storage of CO2 in the Danish subsoil, the DEA is responsible for tendering procedures for the award of permits for exploration and storage. The first offshore exploration licence was granted in February 2023, with the first onshore exploration licence to be granted during the Summer 2024. And, as new potential CO2 storage sites undergo environmental assessment, the DEA regularly consults the public, industry, local government and other authorities. Henrik emphasised that outreach and public dialogue from the earliest stages of planning was vital – and was led jointly by the DEA and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS).

Potential CO2 capture sources include waste incineration, biogas, district heating and industrial facilities, with CO2 outputs ranging from 25 kt to more than 500 kt annually. Most of the capture would be expected to come from biogas sources. To meet the target set to capture and store 3.2 Mtpa CO2 in 2029, the DEA oversees the allocation of Danish subsidy funds to support the deployment of CCS and negative emissions CCS.

Henrik noted valuable lessons learned to-date as:

  • Political ambition and wide political support are very important
  • De-risking the chicken and egg dilemma regarding capture and storage is a precondition to success
  • CCS seems straightforward but is complicated
  • Public acceptance is essential.

GEUS’s Nina Skaarup next spoke about the CO2 storage potential of the Danish underground. In fact, she reported that its geological composition – its caprock, good porosity, reservoir depth and other key properties – made the sandstone in Denmark particularly suited to CO2 storage.

Indications had shown that the Danish geology was suitable for several hundred years CO2 storage. Only saline aquifers were being considered for both onshore and offshore storage. The status as of May 2024 was that:

  • Five areas had been licenced for onshore storage
  • Three areas had been licenced for offshore storage
  • Three areas were pending for the opening of the nearshore licence round.

GEUS had included potential storage companies in its public outreach activities.

To illustrate the exciting progress being made on the capture side, Bogi Bech Jensen, Senior Director at Ørsted, described the first full-scale CCS project in Denmark – the Ørsted Kalundborg CO2 Hub.

Originally coal-fired, Ørsted’s Avedøre Power Station now runs on wood pellets and straw, delivering electricity to the Danish grid and supplying heat to Copenhagen’s district heating. The station was converted to biomass in 2000 and to sustainable biomass over 2020-2021, meaning its output is now CO2 neutral. And following deployment of CCS, the station will become a CO2 negative facility. With the availability of wind, solar and sustainable biomass, plans are also afoot to produce renewable hydrogen that, together with the CO2 captured, may be used to produce sustainable methanol and e-kerosene for shipping and aviation, respectively.

Ørsted plans to use Aker technology to capture the CO2, which will then be transported by DSV to Norway’s Northern Lights facility for eventual storage under the seabed. Importantly for the overall economics, Microsoft will purchase the negative credits earned by the process.

Ørsted is an active participant in INNO-CCUS’s multi-partner CORT project, where its focus is on energy optimisation of the CO2 capture process. Participation in CORT offers the benefits of providing hands-on experience with capture technologies, building general knowledge across the Danish CCS community, and supporting university activities in CCS. Ørsted also collaborates with TCM, where it is able learn and gain practical experience of the CCS process.

Aalborg Portland is a major international cement producer. As Denmark’s largest CO2 emitter, the company stands to play an important role in achieving the country’s climate goals. Jesper Sand Damtoft described Aalborg Portland’s plans to reduce its CO2 emissions – according to its roadmap the company plans to capture 0.4 Mt CO2 annually 2030 – and its role in establishing the North Jutland region as a hub for CO2 storage. An important element of these ambitions is the availability of storage potential and, significantly, estimates suggest that Denmark’s geology can probably store up to 22 billion tonnes of CO2. Exploration licences have already been awarded, with more in the pipeline.

CO2Vision, with Aalborg Portland a member of the consortium, has been selected as the lighthouse project to support the vision of North Jutland region as a hub for CO2 storage. Funds from the Danish Board of Business Development have been awarded to cover the first year, with further funding opportunities available via the EU for businesses across the CCS value chain to build capacity within the workforce.

Aalborg Portland is also part of the Greenport Scandinavia project that, by creating one of Europe’s largest CO2 import and export terminals in the Port of Hirtshals, is aiming to support the goal of reducing EU emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

As a partner in INNO-CCUS, Jensen went on to describe Aalborg Portland’s engagement in projects including CORT and ConsenCUS. Involvement in all the activities described will underpin the company’s ambitious target of reducing its CO2 emissions from 2.2 Mt (2021) to 600,000 t (2030).

By way of a case study, Gas Storage Denmark’s Martin Patrong Haspang described onshore development in Denmark. GSD owns and operates two gas storage sites in Denmark, namely Lille Torup and Stenlille. At the Lille Torup facility, the natural gas is stored in caverns, while at Stenlille, it is stored in an underground aquifer. The aquifer at Stenlille has been shown to be particularly suitable for CO2 storage. It possesses a 300 m clay caprock covering a sandstone reservoir at 1.5 km depth. While Stenlille is used to store natural gas at present, the gas will gradually be phased and it will become a CO2 storage facility.

The project from the capture of CO2, transporting it to site and storing it in the Stenlille aquifer is named the CO2RYLUS project. The storage component of the CO2RYLUS project will be performed in two phases. Under Phase 1, GSD has tendered 1.8 Mt storage capacity, with the CO2 to be delivered by truck for injection into the reservoir over a period of 10 years. With approval from the Ministry, Phase 1 is anticipated to be underway in April 2026. As an early mover, the site offers safe and secure CO2 storage at scale. It satisfies market demand for near-term access to a storage reservoir the characteristics of which GSD is very well acquainted. Importantly, the public have been extensively consulted and are supportive.

CO2RYLUS Phase 2 will require further characterisation of the reservoir. It will build upon the experience from Phase 1, with the CO2 transported to the site by pipeline rather than truck and with CO2 volumes of 1 to 2 Mtpa.

As a partner in INNO-CCUS, GSD is involved seven projects.

The final speaker at the seminar was Mette Fürstnow. As Manager of the project, Mette presented Project Greensand: CO2 storage under the North Sea. Lead partners in the Project Greensand are INEOS and Wintershall Dea. The project aims to convert sandstone aquifers and depleted oilfields under the North Sea into CO2 storage reservoirs.

The depleted Nini West oilfield in the Siri Canyon area of the Danish North Sea has been found to be well suited for CO2 storage. It provides a well-defined structural trap with a thick shale caprock (with no faults) covering a porous sandstone reservoir at around 1.8 km depth. Studies of the field were undertaken from 2020 and a pilot project undertaken in 2023. Injection of liquid CO2 is planned from 2024 to 2030 and beyond. 2025 will see the start of injection for the first commercial project.

The pilot project undertaken in 2023 demonstrated the full value chain. Over 90 days of operations, 4,100 t CO2 was captured from the INEOS Oxide site in Antwerp, Belgium. The CO2 was shipped to the Nini West sandstone reservoir with a shipment cycle of one day injection and six days transport. The success of the pilot was the first time that CO2 had been successfully captured, transported cross-border and safely stored offshore, and paved the way for future commercial operation. Moreover, if biogenic CO2 from sustainable biomass is injected the operation becomes CO2 negative.

The seminar was organised and expertly facilitated by Karina Søgaard, Partnership Director at INNO-CCUS. Karina is also INNO-CCUS’s representative on IEAGHG’s Executive Committee.

The seminar demonstrated very effectively the impressive strides that Denmark has taken over the past four years in progressing its CCUS programme. It illustrates very clearly that when Government, industry and the general public buy into the same future and act with a common purpose, accelerated progress in deploying CCS and addressing climate change is possible.

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