enfinium to invest £1.7bn on carbon capture solutions as part of net-zero transition plan

enfinium, one of the UK’s largest energy from waste (EfW) operators, has published a climate transition plan, detailing how £1.7bn will be invested in carbon capture technology across its facilities to reach net-zero emissions by 2033.

enfinium to invest £1.7bn on carbon capture solutions as part of net-zero transition plan

The new ‘Net-Zero Transition Plan’ sets out a set of key goals to achieve net-zero across Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2033, seven years ahead of the waste industry target of 2040.

The plan focused on large-scale investment into carbon capture solutions that would seek to generate “hundreds of thousands” of carbon removals by 2030, rising to more than one million tonnes annually by 2039.

Plants would be transformed into localised “decarbonisation hubs” that support communities and other facilities in decarbonising. The plan details how the development of heat networks, electrolytic hydrogen production and create private-wired supply links for low-carbon electricity will all interact to create net-zero sites.

enfinium’s chief executive Mike Maudsley said: “Today enfinium uses waste that cannot be recycled, which would otherwise go to climate damaging landfill, to generate low carbon homegrown energy. Installing carbon capture technology will allow us to go further and remove more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year.

“Carbon removals is a once in a generation opportunity for the waste sector globally. With bold leadership and in partnership with governments we can pioneer a credible and affordable pathway to zero emissions and green growth.”

The Net Zero Transition Plan, which has been verified by consultants at Arup, states that enfinium will deliver a net-zero property estate and “reduce use of fossil-based fuels” in mobile plants and vehicles.

enfinium states that EfW facilities commonly use their own electricity that is generated as part of treatment processes onsite, but that a 100% renewable tariff has been signed to cover imported electricity. This electricity will be used to operate cranes, pumps, compressors, air conditioning and fans when the boilers and turbines at the plants aren’t operating.

The plan does not cover Scope 3 emissions, but efinium states that Scope 3 is “a very small part of our emissions profile”. Nonetheless, a goal is in place to engage with 50% of suppliers to lower emissions by 2025.

Waste streams

Efinium claims that, in 2023 alone, its facilities “delivered a net carbon benefit to the UK” by avoiding 456,320 tCO2e emissions entering the atmosphere. The plan also states that one of the key measures to lover emissions from EfW is to reduce the amount of fossil-derived content being treated, instead focusing on biogenic waste.

Currently, around half of the unrecyclable waste produced by the UK is made up of biogenic content, defined as organic material including food waste, plants, paper and card, that can naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. efinium believes that by utilising CCS technology, this carbon can be permanently captured and stored.

Some green groups argue that EfW plants are not sustainable, and have called for a cap of new plants of that type. However, with the UK still generating around 27 million tonnes of waste every year that cannot be recycled, efinium argues that even if national recycling targets are met there could still be around 17 million tonnes of unrecyclable waste produced each year, creating a need for EfW.

Investment plans

Last month, the company unveiled plans to invest around £200m in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at one of its facilities in Wales. The project at the Parc Adfer energy waste facility in North Wales is anticipated to capture up to 235,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually.

More than half of the waste processed at the facility is organic and installing CCS would enable the plant to take more CO2 out of the atmosphere than it produces.

enfinium has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Navigator Terminals, which specialises in storing gas in liquid form, to develop a new ‘rail corridor’ for transporting captured carbon.

The agreement concerns the development of a new rail corridor between enfinium’s Ferrybridge EfW plant in West Yorkshire and Navigator Terminals’ storage facilities in Teesside. Read edie’s case study of the project here.

enfinium estimates that some 700,000 tonnes of emissions could be captured from the Ferrybridge EfW plant each year once man-made carbon capture technologies are fitted there at scale. Tolvik estimates that the average annual emissions footprint of a UK-based EfW plant is around 900,000 tonnes, for context. But enfinium claims that its Ferrybridge site is more energy and carbon efficient than this and that the site could become carbon-neutral, or event carbon-negative, with CCS.

Comments (1)

  1. Rob Heap says:

    Biogenic waste should not be sent to EFW’s. It should be segregated at source and recycled, with the food waste sent to anaerobic digestion for the production of biomethane and industrial grade CO2.

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