Giving up on climate change? EU says no way – invests $140M in decarbonizing projects

August 8, 2021 |

The Olympics in Tokyo just ended and it is slated to be one of the hottest on record with extreme heat and humidity forcing changes to track, tennis and women’s soccer schedules and World Athletics president Sebastien Coe saying “You don’t have to be a devotee of climate change or a denier to know the world is getting hotter. It probably will mean a global discussion around the calendar and how we stage events.”

But there’s the problem. Talk of adapting sports calendars around climate change that make it harder for athletes to be, well, athletes, rather than talking about how we can stop climate change.

The good news is for the first time since the creation of the Innovation Fund, the EU’s latest investment of €118 million (about $140 million) into 32 small innovative projects located in 14 EU Member States, Iceland and Norway that can make a difference, bringing low-carbon technologies to the market in energy intensive industries, hydrogen, energy storage and renewable energy. In addition to these grants, 15 projects located in 10 EU Member States and Norway will benefit from project development assistance worth up to €4.4 million, with the aim of advancing their maturity.

In today’s Digest, the EU investment, a look at some of the projects that are getting funding, like the bio-LNG FirstBio2Shipping project, WAGA Energy biomethane from landfill gas, a Thermoplastic lignin project, Versalis bioethanol, Verbio ethenolysis, Ballard, Orsted green hydrogen in shipping, and more.

The European Union Investment

Before we dive into specific projects, let’s start with the overall EU investment.

For the first time since the creation of the Innovation Fund, the European Union is investing €118 million (about $140 million) into 32 small innovative projects and in addition to these grants, 15 projects located in 10 EU Member States and Norway will benefit from project development assistance worth up to €4.4 million, with the aim of advancing their maturity.

Executive Vice-President Timmermans said, “With today’s investment, the EU is giving concrete support to clean tech projects all over Europe to scale up technological solutions that can help reach climate neutrality by 2050. The increase of the Innovation Fund proposed in the Fit for 55 Package will enable the EU to support even more projects in the future, speed them up, and bring them to the market as quickly as possible.”

The 32 projects selected for funding were evaluated by independent experts for their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional technologies and to innovate beyond the state-of-the-art while being sufficiently mature to enable their quick deployment. Other criteria included the projects’ potential for scalability and cost effectiveness. The selected projects cover a wide range of relevant sectors to decarbonise different parts of Europe’s industry and energy sectors. The success rate of eligible proposals to this call for proposals is 18%.

The 15 projects that can benefit from project development assistance were assessed to be sufficiently innovative and promising in terms of their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but not yet mature enough to be considered for a grant. The support, to be provided as tailor-made technical assistance by the European Investment Bank, aims to advance their financial or technical maturity, with a view to potential re-submission under future Innovation Fund calls.

Waga Energy Biomethane from Landfill gas

In Spain, this project aims to be the first global demonstration of an innovative combination of high performance cryocondenser and methane recovery module technology which generates market compliant biomethane from landfill gas containing more than 10% of air, in countries without any feed-in tariffs.

The unit will process 2,000 Nm3/h of raw biogas and inject 70 GWH/year of biomethane. To achieve this, the project aims to significantly reduce the production costs of biomethane from landfill gas . This will enable the substitution of fossil-derived natural gas and can thus lead to GHG savings in two areas: fugitive emissions at landfills are reduced because operators have an incentive to capture and sell the biomethane, while natural gas will be replaced by biomethane. As a result, the project has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 97% in comparison to a reference scenario.

As reported in The Digest in April, Waga Energy was enlisted by The Mauricie Residual Materials Management Board (RGMRM) to deploy its innovative gas upgrading solution at the Saint-Étienne-des-Grès landfill, in Quebec. This landfill gas-to-RNG project will be the first in Canada to use the WAGABOX technology, developed by Waga Energy to recover landfill gas in the form of RNG.

FirstBio2Shipping bio-LNG project

In the Netherlands, a new Dutch bio-LNG production project received a grant from the European Commission. Dutch waste management firm Attero and Bio-LNG Hub Wilp will develop the project named FirstBio2Shipping. The aim of the project is to decarbonize the maritime sector by demonstrating the first industrial plant producing renewable, low-carbon bio liquified natural gas (bio-LNG) in a standardised and scalable fashion, enabling the cost-effective substitution of heavy fuel oil (HFO).

The plant consists inter alia of a gas treatment unit, a bio-LNG polishing and storage unit and a carbon capture unit.

The project looks to “decarbonize the maritime sector by demonstrating the first industrial plant producing renewable, low-carbon bio-LNG in a standardised and scalable fashion, enabling the cost-effective substitution of heavy fuel oil.” Moreover, the plant would feature a gas treatment facility, a bio-LNG unit, and a carbon capture unit.

The demonstration plant aims to produce 6 million Nm3/year of biogas, 2,400 tons/year of biomethane, and 5,000 tons/year of bio-CO2. The project would reduce GHG by 92% compared to a reference scenario.

At the core of the process is a novel technology called iLNG. The novel integrated system aims to overcome hurdles such as low bio-LNG qualities (i.e., containing amines), high methane slip (due to CO2 venting), high temperature demands in gas treatment technologies, and high costs for disposal of wastewater and toxic chemical waste. Dutch bio-LNG plant developer Nordsol patented this technology. Nordsol is already building the first bio-LNG facility in the Netherlands along with partners Shell and Renewi.

Versalis bioethanol project

In Italy, Versalis is working on delivering a large-scale 2nd generation bioethanol demonstration plant.

Hydrogen project

In Spain, Repsol, Enagas and Sun2Hy are working together on a hydrogen project. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the first Photoelectrocatalysis (PEC) pre-commercial plant in the world with a large production capacity of hydrogen.

Verbio project

In Germany and Hungary, Verbio, XiMo Hungary, and Pi Innovation Culture are working on First of its kind Ethenolysis production plant providing renewable carbon for the European green economy.

In Spain, Forestal del Atlantico is working on an innovative plant to manufacture green methanol produced from renewable hydrogen and CO2 captured from an existing cogeneration plant.

Green hydrogen in shipping

A whole group of shipping industry partners – Ballard Power Systems, Orsted, Danish Ship Finance, DFDS, Hexagon Composites, Knud Hansen and others – are working on a zero-emission vessel powered by a large-scale fuel cell system that will exclusively use green hydrogen from renewable sources.

Ren Com AB Thermoplastic lignin project

In Sweden, this project involves the construction of a biorefinery producing a biomaterial that is renewable and which is used in the manufacturing process of packaging films (i.e., wrapping plastics and plastic bags). The goal is to replace polyethylene, the most used fossil-based plastic with the new and innovative material made from lignin, a low-value side-stream of the pulp and paper industry.

This will be the first biomaterial produced from lignin for bioplastics, which displays key properties, such as sufficient good water resistance and thermoplastic performance, coupled with a cost-efficient production process. Success with the new material product will pave the way for it to replace other fossil-based plastics, such as polypropylene and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. The production capacity of the plant will be 10,000tpa, and the project would avoid 78% of GHG emissions compared to a reference scenario.

Navigator Pulp Setubal S.A. – Conversion of pulp mill fuel source to biomass

In Portugal, this project aims to reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions from the pulp mill’s lime kiln. A pilot-scale rotary kiln burner and its wood powder feeding lines and equipment will be designed and built, in order to allow a fuel shift to 100% hardwood residues (eucalyptus sawdust) and softwood (pellets), replacing the current natural gas-fired in the existing pulp mill’s lime kiln.

Considering the lime kiln equipment is responsible for most of the fossil fuel consumption in a pulp mill, the key innovative element of the project relates to the use of hardwood residues, which are generated in wood handling operations, in a lime kiln whilst ensuring that the integrity of the kiln is maintained compared to a standard gas-fired kiln. Although no changes in the production capacity of kraft pulp are envisaged, the conversion of the lime kiln would avoid 76% of GHG emissions compared to a reference scenario.

Some other projects include replacing fossil fuel derived LNG used to dry paper with a new on-site gasification plant that uses wood waste to generate bio-syngas, which would result in avoiding 72% GHG emissions in comparison.

You can check out all 32 small-scale projects here.

You can check out all 15 large-scale projects here.

Next steps

Successful projects under the call for small-scale projects are starting to prepare individual grant agreements. These should be finalised in the fourth quarter of 2021, allowing the Commission to adopt the corresponding grant award decision and start disbursing the grants. Projects have up to four years to reach financial closure.

Projects offered development assistance under the call for large-scale projects will be contacted by the European Investment Bank to conclude individual agreements and enable the start of the service in the fourth quarter of 2021.

So while some see climate change as something we need to get used to, it’s good to see others trying to do something to stop it from getting worse.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Top Stories

Thank you for visting the Digest.