Enefit Power looking to generate electricity emissions-free

Enefit Power CEO Andres Vainola.
Enefit Power CEO Andres Vainola. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Eesti Energia subsidiary Enefit Power is looking for ways to generate electricity in its thermal power plants without creating CO2 emissions. Only using climate neutral fuels and carbon capture are weighed.

Estonia needs to generate its electricity solely from renewable sources by 2030, which both the outgoing and incoming governments have said.

National power company Eesti Energia's long-term activity plan provides that thermal power plants still in operation by that time may only use wood chips and synthesis gas generated as a byproduct of oil production. However, both fuels require a solid heat-carrying agent to be burned in fluidized bed furnaces. Enefit Power CEO Andres Vainola said that sand or oil shale ash can serve the purpose once oil shale rock is no longer used.

Alternatively, Enefit Power is weighing sticking with oil shale but rendering the process of burning it carbon neutral.

"We launched the CO2 neutrality study, working with TalTech, in 2019 and picked the two most promising technologies last fall. To simplify, one is catching the emissions as they exit the chimney and storing them. The other, which I find much more attractive, is to add a chemical afterburning process. It would be possible to reduce today's CO2 emissions by 90 percent this way. And the rest is so clean that you can build a brewery next to the plant and put it in beer. A slight exaggeration, you understand. But both options of striving toward carbon neutrality are in the works," Vainola said.

The Enefit Power CEO estimates that achieving carbon neutrality at Eesti Energia's Auvere Power Plant would cost a few hundred million euros. At the same time, Enefit Power spent over €500 million on pollution quotas last year alone.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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