Viridor targets net-negative emissions by 2045 through carbon capture technology

Viridor is aiming to have the technology installed and running at its Runcorn site (pictured) by 2026

Viridor has unveiled a five-step roadmap that will aim to deliver reductions in emissions across its operations and enabling it to reach net-zero by 2040. Then, by 2045, Viridor aims to remove more emissions than its operations produce, badging itself as a net negative emissions waste and recycling company.

With the majority of Viridor’s emissions coming from its Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities, the company will invest in Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS). Viridor is aiming to have the technology installed and running at its Runcorn site by 2026. By 2040, CCUS infrastructure will aim to capture at least 1.6MTCO2 every year. CCUS will be used for negative emissions and Viridor will explore products that can be created from the captured carbon.

Viridor will aim to maximise the amount of waste that is recycled or reused to stop those facility emissions from rising in the first place. The company will invest in new reprocessing facilities which will reduce the amount of waste heading to EfW facilities.

Viridor’s chief executive Kevin Bradshaw said: “Tackling the climate crisis requires bold action, and this pledge underlines Viridor’s ambition to drive the UK waste sector on its path to decarbonisation. We are committed to doing everything in our power to achieve net-zero and net negative emissions, recognising the critical role of carbon capture and storage in the process.

“We know we cannot do this alone, and are committed to working with the Government and industry to drive the policy changes needed to make this technology a reality. If we get this right the benefits for our industry, society and economy will be immense, and I am confident that the waste sector can play a vital role in tackling the UK’s carbon emissions.”

To promote CCUS, Viridor has today (20 May) joined the HyNet North West Consortium, working in partnership with Progressive Energy, which has been developing CCUS schemes in the UK for more than 20 years.

Additionally, Viridor will work to provide more homes and businesses with low-carbon heat.

Viridor is a founding member of the Heat Networks Industry Council (HNIC) – set up last year – that comprises of heat network operators and energy firms that delivers heat to almost 500,000 UK customers as an alternative from gas-boiler heating.

The Council has set out a new industry plan that will support between £30bn to £50bn of investment in the sector that creates 35,000 new jobs by 2050. The HNIC is also aiming to deliver universal zero-carbon heat networks by 2035 and upskill the supply chain and workforce to enable 18% of UK heat demand to be met through heat networks by 2050.

Heat accounts for more than a third of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and remains one of the biggest challenges for the nation to overcome as part of its transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.

While electric heat pumps and biomass boilers are common technologies across the UK’s housing stock and commercial buildings, most of the heat used by buildings and industries derives from fossil fuels. Natural gas – albeit blended somewhat with biomethane – is the “predominant source of heating for the vast majority of customers connected to the grid”, according to the Government’s own reports of the decarbonisation of heat. Around 75% of the UK’s current heating demand in buildings is met by natural gas.

Matt Mace

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