A unique experiment to capture carbon dioxide from the fumes of burning rubbish is underway in Norway. Jim Drury reports.
It might sound crazy, but burning household and industrial waste could help save the planet. Norwegian firm Aker Solutions has set up this large incinerator plant to capture carbon from burning items that can't be recycled. It's based at Oslo's Klemetsrud incinerator, which emits 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. SOUNDBITE (English) JOHNNY STUEN, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR OF WASTE-TO-ENERGY AGENCY, SAYING: "When it comes here what we want to do is to burn the rest that is not usable for material recovering because it's too dirty or too mixed or whatever. We want to recover the energy in it because that's still available. So that's when it comes here and we take care of it and burn it up and then we use the energy to district heating and producing electricity." It's a step beyond most efforts to capture and bury greenhouse gases at fossil fuel plants. The test plant has five containers feeding exhaust gases through pipes and filters. SOUNDBITE (English) ESPEN JORGENSEN, SITE MANAGER OF TEST UNIT, AKER SOLUTIONS, SAYING: "We're capturing about two, two-and-a-half tonnes, a day. That's our average, more or less, that's because of the restrictions of the unit itself." Carbon dioxide is blamed by climate scientists as the main contributor to greenhouse gas emissions Officials here hope to capture up to 90 per cent of the plant's CO2 emissions. SOUNDBITE (English) OSCAR GRAFF, HEAD OF CCS AT AKER SOLUTIONS, SAYING: "Up until now we have about 700 operating hours here at Klemetsrud and we have captured about 80 tonnes of CO2, and what is nice from this flue gas from Klemetsrud is the high content of the CO2, it's about 12 percent, volume percent, of CO2. So it's fairly easy to capture." If the five-month trial works, a full-scale carbon capture plant could be built by 2020. So far, high costs have plagued technology for carbon capture and storage. But the team behind this unique experiment hopes theirs can be cost effective...and light a fire under waste-to-energy plants world-wide.