Nordic Power 2X for Sustainable Road Transport

The Nordic P2X for Sustainable Road Transport assessed the potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport within the Nordics by the use of electrofuels. Renewable electricity from…

The Nordic P2X for Sustainable Road Transport assessed the potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport within the Nordics by the use of electrofuels. Renewable electricity from wind and solar is growing fast in the Nordics, which gives an opportunity for decarbonising the road transport sector, including both heavy (trucks and buses) and light vehicles (cars, mopeds and motorcycles).

The Nordic countries each have ambitious climate goals. Achieving the ambitious targets requires solutions to reduce emissions in the sectors where it has so far been difficult. One solution is the possibility of converting renewable power to hydrogen (via electrolysis) and to other electrofuels. The conversion of electricity will help to integrate more renewable energy into the energy system in sectors that are difficult to decarbonize, but may also reduce the rapidly growing need for expansion of the electricity infrastructure.

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Nordic P2X for Sustainable Road Transport: Executive Summary

Electrofuels (e-fuels) produced from renewable electricity in the Nordics could contribute to both increasing the domestic production of renewable fuels, and to achieving national targets for decarbonizing the transport sector. Reducing emissions from road transport can, to a significant degree, be achieved by vehicle electrification – being far more energy efficient on a well-to-wheel basis than e-fuels – but there is still a large demand of liquid and gaseous fuels expected, especially for heavy-duty transport, even in a time frame up to 2050. Together with biofuels, e-fuels – including both liquid and gaseous, carbon- containing fuels and hydrogen – could be an option to fill this demand.

The project – conducted in collaboration between CIT Industriell Energi AB, THEMA Consulting AS and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland – identified candidate locations in the Nordic countries for hydrogen and subsequent e-fuel production (methane, methanol, DME and FT-diesel) for fuelling road transport within the Nordics for a timeframe up to 2045. Sites have been ranked by production costs, greenhouse gas emission savings, and infrastructural aspects. Water resource availability was also analysed, but results showed that water availability is not a critical factor for plant siting decision within the Nordics.

The major conclusions from the present project are:

For e-fuel production sites co-located with industrial emissions sources in the Nordics, the key features of attractive sites are a low power price, potential by-product revenues and plant size

The location of e-fuel production sites at industrial large-scale CO2 sources in low power cost regions is a viable near-term choice to allow the rapid ramp-up of carbon-based e-fuel production in the Nordics. This is due to the most important factors for low e-fuel production costs being: a low power price, potential revenues of by-products (oxygen and heat), and plant size (economies of scale). For hydrogen e-fuel production, where plant economics are even more sensitive to power prices, this conclusion is also considered valid. Even though hydrogen production is not dependent on a CO2 source, benefits from co-location with industrial infrastructure are still to be expected, and low power price regions will still be the most attractive from a production cost perspective.

The present assessment is based on the current energy system infrastructure and known near- to medium-term developments. The report authors analysed whether locating hydrogen production where power was cheapest in the Nordics and then paying for hydrogen transport was likely to be cheaper than local hydrogen production for e-fuel production facilities located at industrial CO2 sources. This analysis indicates that power price differences within the Nordics are too small relative to the costs of hydrogen transportation to motivate off-site hydrogen production elsewhere in the region. Future changes to the relevant infrastructure – such as the build-up of an extensive hydrogen transport infrastructure or a CO2 transport system – might lead to differing conclusions.

Power consumption is the main limiting factor on the volume of fuels that can be produced

The upper limit for e-fuel production is set by the maximum size of electrolyser chosen in the analysis (200 MWel). This assumption accounts for potential limitations in electric power supply infrastructure. The theoretical amount of e-fuels produced based on the availability of carbon dioxide would be substantially higher. Consequently, a massive ramp-up of capacity could generate substantial amounts of e-fuels provided there was an available supply of renewable power. The estimated e-fuel amounts generated from the 15 sites with the lowest production costs in the Nordics correspond to a share of about 10 % of total energy demand for road transport, well in line with e-fuel uptake scenarios developed as part of this study. However, the focus of the analysis was on identifying the relative attractiveness of different e-fuel production sites and further investigation would be necessary to come up with better founded estimates of possible e-fuel production volumes.

E-fuel production at smaller scale from biogas plants can be a cost-competitive alternative from a national perspective

Co-location with large biogas plants can be a cost-competitive solution from a national perspective, since the available pure CO2 stream reduces investment and operating costs. However, the volumes of e-fuels that can be produced at lower cost at biogas plants are considerably smaller compared to levels reached at large scale industrial CO2 sources. Further, large biogas plants are mainly situated in southern Sweden and Denmark, with relatively high power prices, which makes large scale e-fuel production in low power price zones (e.g. Norway) the economically preferable option from a Nordic perspective.

E-fuels produced in the Nordics can achieve – and surpass – the greenhouse gas reduction requirements of 70 % from EU directives

With respect to greenhouse gas emission reductions, e-fuels produced within the Nordic countries can surpass the 70 % reduction requirement of European directives, based on currently available calculation methodology. Thus, e-fuels could contribute to reaching mandatory levels of advanced renewable transport fuels. In this context, it is important to note that the final methodology for e-fuels specifically is not yet specified. E-fuel production sites are expected to use power sourced from a portfolio of onshore wind sites, complemented by grid power, which would give emission reductions above 90 %. Even e-fuel production in the Nordics using grid electricity is expected to be compliant with the reduction target of 70 %, excepting Denmark and Finland in the very near term (2025). In addition to access to renewable electricity, the major site-specific factor influencing the GHG emission reduction potential is heat export opportunities, which are expected to allow emissions to be allocated to the useful heat that is generated as a by-product in the production process.

Whether carbon dioxide is of fossil or biogenic origin does not impact the GHG emission reduction potential of e-fuels, which, based on currently available information, is reflected in the set-up of EU directives. From a long-term perspective, the use of fossil fuels will/should be phased out or converted to bioenergy where possible. Therefore, biogenic carbon dioxide sources, and/or applications with intrinsic CO2 emissions such as from cement industry, may be a more secure source. A more comprehensive life cycle assessment, which accounts for site-specific conditions, the impacts of plant construction and allocation to other non-energy by-products, e.g. oxygen, should be considered. To understand the total climate impacts of increased e-fuel production in the Nordics a system level analysis would be needed.

Fuel distribution infrastructure is favourable for most sites that are top-ranked from a cost perspective and for all sites in Denmark and Southwestern Sweden

The three aspects most important for the ranking based on distribution infrastructure are the availability of a harbour at the production site, that the fuel produced can utilize existing distribution infrastructure, and proximity to demand centres. Most top-ranked sites with respect to production costs have access to a harbour, but not all. On the other hand, all sites in Denmark – though not top-ranked from an overall Nordic cost perspective – have access to the natural gas grid and are located close to demand centres. It is clear that the possibility to utilize existing distribution infrastructure benefits the near-term development of e-fuel production. This is the case for liquid drop-in fuels and for e-methane where there is access to a natural gas or biogas grid.

E-fuels for road transport and P2X in general need to be analysed from a broader perspective

Building up a renewable e-fuel production infrastructure requires vast investments and large amounts of additional renewable electricity generation. A more holistic approach is necessary to clarify the roles of e-fuels – and P2X applications for materials, chemicals, or energy storage in a broader sense – for the future energy system. The present study – which focuses on identifying optimum locations for e-fuel production in the Nordic countries – can be used as a starting point for or contribution to a broader analysis. With respect to low-carbon transport, the results of the present study can serve as benchmark for e-fuels with respect to other measures such as biofuels or direct electrification.

This project provides a foundation for a broader consideration of the appropriate use of e-fuels by establishing an analytical framework for the assessment of costs and a detailed database of large scale industrial CO2-point sources that could be used for e-fuel production in the Nordics

A database of e-fuel production cost and greenhouse gas emission reductions covering 232 industrial sites within the Nordics has been established. The database can form the basis of further investigations and allows for customization and adaption. Carbon dioxide amounts, origin (fossil/organic), and concentration estimates, as well as local markets/demand for by-products oxygen and heat are included in the database. Power price scenarios based on a sophisticated modelling approach for the timeframe 2025 – 2035 – 2045 for the Nordic electricity price zones are included. The analytical framework – which links a comprehensive Nordic power system model, structured techno-economic data, and life-cycle-based GHG emission performance analyses – is a valid starting point for further studies of the role of e-fuels in the Nordic energy system.

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Download the project database

Download the project presentation

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage: An essential technology for facilitating carbon neutrality

The Nordic region has ambitious climate goals and visions that could be achieved using CCUS as a complement to other measures

Nordic Energy Research aims at taking an active part in the green transition by facilitating a joint approach to Nordic challenges, where CCUS is one of the focus areas. Through networking groups, funding research activities and dissemination of information, we facilitate the deployment of CCUS in the Nordic region.  

What is the Nordic take on CCUS?

The Nordic region has ambitious climate goals and visions that could be achieved using CCUS as a complement to other measures. There is a potential for a CCS chain from capture to storage in the Nordic and North Sea regions involving major infrastructure and storage components. Also, the Nordic region, in particular Sweden and Finland, have a high share of solid biomass fuels in the total energy consumption. This suggests that capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the combustion of biomass in bio-CCS could be an effective and cost-efficient option to achieve carbon negative solutions.

Today, there are only a few CCUS projects in operation. Even though the technology has been around since the 1980’s, costs are still high and further maturing of the technologies is necessary for large-scale deployment.

Figure 1. CCUS involve the capture of CO2 from fuel combustion or industrial processes, the transport of the captured CO2, and either utilisation as carbon resource in biofuels or other products, or permanent storage in geological formations. (Illustration: The Bellona Foundation / Negative CO2)

The Nordic countries have different starting points – geologically, politically, and economically. In Sweden and Finland, we find the largest industrial emission-sources of CO2, but also many legal hindrances, while in Norway we find the largest and most suitable storage units. Norway also has the advantage of considerable geological competence, as a result of decades of oil and natural gas recovery. There are also geological opportunities for CO2-storage in Denmark, but deployment has been slowed down by the lack of acceptance from the local community. Meanwhile, Iceland is making progress with a CCUS technique turning CO2 into minerals.

The nature of CCUS technology, with the different elements (capture, transport, storage, utilisation), require multidisciplinary and transnational collaboration. Thus, there is a lot to gain from Nordic collaboration on CCUS, regardless of political, technological, or legal issues. This is acknowledged by the Nordic Prime Ministers, who in January 2019 declared that they would intensify their cooperation in order to catalyse the scaling up of Nordic sustainable solutions.

Nordic Energy Research and CCUS

Current activities
Nordic Energy Research is taking part in several activities to promote CCUS-research and further its deployment in the Nordic region.

  • Negative CO2 – The Nordic Energy Research Flagship project Negative CO2 combines technologies and research that will help reducing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere effectively and at a low cost. The project focus at bio-CCS with a special aim of taking the CO2 capturing-technology Chemical Looping Combustion to the next level in its development by upscaling it to a semi-commercial scale.
  • Accelerating CCS Technologies (ACT) – Together with the collaboration-initiative ACT, Nordic Energy Research aims at facilitating the emergence of CCUS via transnational funding. The projects funded aspire to accelerate and mature CCUS technology application through targeted innovation and research activities. Nordic Energy Research is funding various types of projects – e.g. sociological or economical – as long as at least two Nordic partners are participating. Link to announcement.
  • The Networking Group on CCUS (NGCCUS) – NGCCUS was established in 2019 by the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Energy Policies and consists of representatives from the Nordic and Baltic countries’ authorities and ministries. The group mainly focuses on cooperation within CCUS policy development and works as a platform for discussing CCUS policy and strategy issues. The group also monitors the CCUS-development in the Nordic-Baltic countries and acts as an adviser for the arrangement of the Baltic Carbon Forum. Nordic Energy Research is a part of the group and assists in the work of the secretariat.
  • Nordic or Nordic-Baltic PhD and Researcher Mobility Programme – Nordic Energy Research is funding a “CCU-Nordic network”. The project aims at creating a strong academic network between four leading Nordic research groups by strengthening the interdisciplinary mobility for training of highly qualified researchers and create the basis for a strong CCU-Nordic network.

Past activities
Nordic research collaboration on CCS in the Nordic region was done by the Nordic CCS Competence Center (NordiCCS)in which Nordic Energy Research also participated. NordiCCS conducted several studies on CCS in the Nordic countries between 2011–2015 and involved several Nordic research centres as well as representatives from the industrial sector. Among other things, the collaboration resulted in a tool that can be used to evaluate and rank potential storage units. With the tool, it was concluded that the total theoretical storage capacity of CO2 within the territories of Sweden, Denmark and Norway are up to 120.000 million tons. As a comparison, Sweden’s industrial sector emits app. 19 million tons every year. NordiCCS makes a strong case for collaboration on CCUS in the Nordic region, to facilitate a joint approach to Nordic challenges. 

Networking group on CCUS

The task of the Networking Group on Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (NGCCUS) is to promote cooperation on CCUS through the exchange of experience and assist the governments of the…

The task of the Networking Group on Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (NGCCUS) is to promote cooperation on CCUS through the exchange of experience and assist the governments of the participating countries with knowledge.

The network has been established for a three-year period and consists of representatives from the Nordic Baltic Eight (NB8).

Persons

  • Siri Eritsland – Norwegian Chairman
  • Peter Molander – Finnish Secretary
  • Björn Telenius – Swedish Member
  • Edijs Šaicāns – NB8 member
  • Ella Havnevik Giske – Norwegian Member
  • Emi Hijino – Swedish Member
  • Gediminas Karalius – NB8 member
  • Helga Barðadóttir – Icelandic Member
  • Henrik Sulsbrück – Danish Member
  • Johannes Opsahl – Norwegian Member
  • Kati-Liis Kensap – NB8 member
  • Meinhard Eliasen – Faroese Member
  • Tomas Lukoševičius – NB8 member
  • Timo Ritonummi – Finnish Member

Sustainable use of biomass for heating and transport fuel

Bioenergy is an important topic in the Nordic countries but the sustainability of biomass for energy is being debated and the issue is complex. Some analysts expect biomass to provide…

Bioenergy is an important topic in the Nordic countries but the sustainability of biomass for energy is being debated and the issue is complex. Some analysts expect biomass to provide large amounts of clean energy at acceptable environmental costs and with net positive socioeconomic effects; others project limited potential and large adverse effects such as increased hunger, biodiversity loss, and substantial GHG emissions.

To provide guidance on this matter, Nordic Energy Research, Nordic Forest Research, and Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural and Food Research have produced this policy brief. Focus throughout the brief is biomass from forestry, agriculture, waste, and the marine environment as a source of energy for heating and transportation fuels.

Tracking Nordic Clean Energy Progress

Tracking Nordic Clean Energy Progress 2019 is a brief, illustrative report that charts Nordic progress towards a carbon neutral society by highlighting the most prominent trends and examining scenarios where…

Tracking Nordic Clean Energy Progress 2019 is a brief, illustrative report that charts Nordic progress towards a carbon neutral society by highlighting the most prominent trends and examining scenarios where Nordic solutions can have a global impact. The report illustrates – for multiple technologies and key parameters – the latest progress in technology development and penetration, as well as market creation.

New 2030 Vision and Roadmap for the Nordic Electricity Market

The Nordic countries have cooperated regarding electricity market issues since the 1990s and Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have shared a common electricity market since 2000. A joint goal and…

The Nordic countries have cooperated regarding electricity market issues since the 1990s and Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have shared a common electricity market since 2000.

A joint goal and political dedication of all the Nordic energy ministers were a driving force for the common electricity market and its subsequent development. The Louisiana declaration, signed by the Nordic energy ministers in Denmark in 1995, has guided the Nordic electricity market towards closer cooperation and increased harmonisation since its publication.

Today, the Nordic electricity system is changing rapidly in order to accommodate the green transition and reaching the ambitious climate goals in the Nordics. This leads to a need for a new political lighthouse declaration and a renewal of the commitment of the four countries to further develop and strengthen their common electricity market, to ensure the most optimal use of resources, cost-effectiveness and support for the transition to a wholly sustainable energy system – a decisive political stance encouraging further and deeper collaboration.

Based on a recommendation from Jorma Ollila, put forth in his report for and to the Nordic Council of Ministers, “Nordic Energy Cooperation – Strong today, stronger tomorrow”, the council initiated a new Nordic Electricity Market Forum as a venue for closer dialogue between policy and non-policy stakeholders, as well as between the different types of stakeholders within the Nordic electricity market. The first forum was held in Stockholm in November 2018, and with the need for a renewed guiding political communique as backdrop, the theme of this first forum was to initiate a new Vision specifically for the Nordic electricity market with a shared ownership of all stakeholders. This work was further strengthened by the Nordic Prime Ministers Declaration on Nordic Carbon Neutrality, adopted in January this year.

In addition, Nordic trans-stakeholder Working Groups continued to cooperate after the forum to develop input for a Roadmap to guide actions towards the new Vision.

The resulting Vision and correlating Roadmap have today been discussed by the Nordic Ministers of energy at their annual meeting, taking place in Reykjavik this year. The Vision was adopted by the ministers and the roadmap noted as a live working document to be further developed and updated as actions and tasks progress.

The Nordic electricity market stakeholders and relevant policy agents are strongly engaged in seeing the new Vision come to fruition through active and close collaboration. The new Vision and Roadmap can be accessed online here.

Nordisk Energiforskning på Almedalsveckan

Vilken energiforskning behövs för ett koldioxidneutralt Norden? En deklaration om ett koldioxidneutralt Norden undertecknades vid det nordiska statsministermötet om klimat i Helsingfors den 25 januari 2019. Frågan är hur forskning…

Vilken energiforskning behövs för ett koldioxidneutralt Norden?

En deklaration om ett koldioxidneutralt Norden undertecknades vid det nordiska statsministermötet om klimat i Helsingfors den 25 januari 2019. Frågan är hur forskning om energi och klimat kan medverka till att uppnå deklarationens mål.

Utökad information om evenemanget

Syftet med seminariet är att skapa ett forum för dialog om intresse och motiv för samnordisk forskning för ett koldioxidneutralt Norden. Vilka insatser lämpar sig bäst att genomföra gemensamt i Norden?

Mer info

BENTE at Scenarios Forum 2019, Denver

Tomi Lindroos, project leader of Baltic Energy Technology Scenarios 2018 (BENTE), traveled to Denver recently to present findings from the study. The Scenarios Forum brings together researchers who model population, energy, emissions, and climate…

Tomi Lindroos, project leader of Baltic Energy Technology Scenarios 2018 (BENTE), traveled to Denver recently to present findings from the study. The Scenarios Forum brings together researchers who model population, energy, emissions, and climate, among many other topics. The forum provides a place to exchange experiences, ideas, and lessons learned, as well as a platform to identify ideas and knowledge gaps for future research.

“Our contribution was a session of renewable-based electrification where we wanted to improve scenarios for clean energy transition” says  Lindroos.

“Caitlin Murphy from NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA) introduced their very detailed modelling of electricity consumption on demand-side sectors. Mariliis Lehtveer from Chalmers University (Sweden) presented their analysis of cost-competitiveness of electrofuels in the transport sector. I presented our system-level study of Baltic Energy Technology Scenarios 2018 where we explored current drivers and development trends in the Baltic countries’ energy sectors and assessed the likely impacts of adopted energy and climate policies.

“One of our main conclusions from both NREL’s study and BENTE 2018 was that we need a large-scale electrification to reach energy and climate targets”

One of our main conclusions from both NREL’s study and BENTE 2018 was that we need a large-scale electrification to reach energy and climate targets. In the BENTE study, we found that

  • Wind and solar will be the cheapest new capacity by 2025 (actually reached already by 2018)
  • Large heat pumps will be the cheapest source of district heating, unless blocked by taxes or grid fees
  • Electric vehicles should have cheaper lifetime costs than ICE vehicles around 2030

As a result, the electricity demand of the Baltic countries is projected to increase especially in the transport sector. The actual electrification might not be as quick as modelled if climate and energy policy targets won’t be achieved in all sectors.”

The Scenarios Forum gathered roughly 300 participants all around the world. The program covered a wide range of modelling topics including the upcoming IPCC scenarios, sustainable development goals, demographics, climate change impacts, emissions, and energy. The scale stretched from regional studies to global and specific topics to system studies.

Opening plenary of the Scenarios Forum 2019

The climate benefits of the Nordic forests

A brochure produced by Nordic Forest Research (SNS) and the Nordic Council of Ministers explains the climate benefits of the Nordic forests. These benefits can broken down into two main…

A brochure produced by Nordic Forest Research (SNS) and the Nordic Council of Ministers explains the climate benefits of the Nordic forests. These benefits can broken down into two main categories; carbon storage, and substitution. To find out more about how Nordic forests can help the climate and to download the brochure, visit the SNS website below.

nordicforestresearch.org/climatebenefit/

Wrapping up Nordic Clean Energy Week 2018

In May Nordic Energy Research was engaged in a number of events as part of Nordic Clean Energy Week in Malmö and Copenhagen. The week was a big success, with…

In May Nordic Energy Research was engaged in a number of events as part of Nordic Clean Energy Week in Malmö and Copenhagen. The week was a big success, with researchers, politicians, students and business representatives from around the Nordics gathering to discuss some of the burning issues regarding the future of clean energy. Below you can find links to articles and other information about the individual events.

 

The EU Observer on our negative emissions flagship project and Nordic Clean Energy Week.

NEF partnership events under Nordic Clean Energy Week:

Bridging the Gap Between Cleantech R&D and Commercialization

Sustainable Urban Solutions

Sustainable Future Energy Systems

Browse the Nordic Clean Energy Week hashtag on twitter.

Iris Baldursdottir, Executive Vice President of Systems Operations and ICT at Landsnet in Iceland, presenting at Sustainable Future Energy Systems during Nordic Clean Energy Week 2018

Danfoss Drives CEO, Vesa Laisi, presenting at Sustainable Future Energy Systems during Nordic Clean Energy Week 2018.

Left to right: Kennith Karlsson, DTU/Flex4RES; Brian Vad Mathiesen, Aalborg University; Rebecca Collyer, European Climate Foundation. Panel discussion at Sustainable Future Energy Systems during Nordic Clean Energy Week 2018.

NER’s CEO Hans Jørgen Koch presenting at Sustainable Urban Solutions, during Nordic Clean Energy Week 2018

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