24 Apr 2023, 13:57 CET

Billerud is exploring the possibilities of Bio-CCS

The global climate agreement that came into force in 2016 not only demanded a steep reduction in greenhouse gas emissions but also the creation of net-negative emissions. To address this, Billerud sees carbon capture as part of the solution to the climate challenges of our time.

Karlsborg – Kalix, Sweden.

One promising technology is Carbon Capture and Storage from bioenergy (Bio-CCS). Since we have a large proportion of biogenic carbon dioxide emissions, we have the opportunity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by implementing this technology at Billerud's facilities.

A unique opportunity to mitigate the climate effects

Our forests are the most well-known carbon sinks. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and convert it into sugar and oxygen. The sugar is then stored in the growing tree. Therefore, our forests effectively contribute to carbon storage. When the trees then decompose or burn, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere – and this is where new technology can come into play to capture them.

How Bio-CCS works

Our processes are based on renewable raw materials that are part of a circular economy. Carbon dioxide is captured as the forest grows, and we process the forest into renewable products and energy. The carbon dioxide produced during energy use can be captured, collected, and stored in the bedrock or under the seabed. This creates so-called carbon sinks or negative emissions.

Illustration showing the process of carbon capture and storage in bioenergy production. Carbon dioxide is emitted from the production unit and captured, then transported to a storage site where it is permanently stored in the bedrock or under the seabed. This process helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

By collecting biogenic carbon dioxide from Billerud's facilities in Sweden, we can contribute to as much as 50% of Sweden's goal of net-negative emissions by 2045, when Sweden aims to be carbon neutral.

For us as a company, this is important. We can be part of solving one of our time's biggest challenges and limiting global warming while making our processes even more sustainable and strengthening our business. We can create new business opportunities and help other businesses where reducing carbon dioxide emissions is significantly more difficult.

Permanent carbon storage

There are several projects underway in Europe to store carbon dioxide geologically in rock formations. One way is to store carbon dioxide by drilling new holes under the seabed, often 1 kilometer or more down, in so-called saline aquifers. These have geological conditions for permanently and safely storing carbon dioxide. The porous sandstone in the aquifer, combined with a cap rock, prevents the carbon dioxide from seeping out.

Another way to store carbon dioxide is in depleted oil and gas fields, also often far below the seabed. There is a lot of knowledge in this area.

There is also the possibility for captured carbon dioxide to mineralize, which means forming a new rock where carbon dioxide is bound in a solid form. In other words, carbon dioxide can be transformed into stone, a natural process that can be accelerated with new technology.

About the terms and concepts

CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) is a term used to describe the process of separating carbon dioxide from flue gases. When the carbon dioxide comes from plants, it is referred to as Bio-CCS or BECCS (Bio Energy CCS). The separated carbon dioxide can be used as a raw material in industrial production, and this is called CCU (Carbon Capture and Utilization). It is also possible to directly capture carbon dioxide from the air, which is called DAC (Direct Air Capture).

Learn how Bioenergy CCS works from our Climate Impact Engineer Frida Jerrå (short video)

See Also

Sustainable wood supply

Resource-efficient production

Partnerships & community engagement