Home District Energy News The waste sector must be the stable backup for Power-to-X

The waste sector must be the stable backup for Power-to-X

by Linda Bertelsen

If cars in the future are to continue to play as significant a role in our daily lives as they do today, then they must run on something other than fossil fuels.

Hydrogen is one of the major focus areas worldwide, also for the Danish government, and here production via CO2 capture and wind turbines plays a significant role. Collectively it is called Power to X, PtX. But the new technology needs a backup in incinerators. Henrik Wenzel, professor at the Department of Green Technology at the University of Southern Denmark, doubts that a private waste sector will have an incentive for it.

– PtX will come to the fore when it comes to heat production, and district heating will come in the background. However, hydrogen production is dependent on wind, and therefore the waste sector must provide a stable backup. For example, in winter, when it is less windy. But it requires a restructuring of the sector to be more seasonal, and I doubt it will happen if it is placed in private hands, says Henrik Wenzel.

Although a broad political majority in the Danish parliament last year entered into two agreements to support the capture, transport, and storage of CO2, Henrik Wenzel does not believe that the government has made it clear that the incineration plants must be used in that process.

– It has been said that 80 percent of the waste must come out of the incineration, but I do not think that is optimal. I believe it is 50 percent since not all waste can be recycled. Over time, we will be able to get new boilers in the plants and burn the waste in pure oxygen; then, we will get almost pure CO2. And that is important because, in advance, we almost have to double our wind turbine power to live up to the reduction requirements, says Henrik Wenzel.

He believes that it is too early in the green transition to set the waste sector free.

– I worry that we do not yet know precisely the optimization we face in the green transition. If we let go of the reins completely, it can be challenging to get the waste sector to play into the green transition. When will the private companies be willing to convert such a plant as it can be modified to supply winter consumption? You can lose momentum in the green transition, says Henrik Wenzel.

Article translated from Energy Supply