Opportunities provided by technological carbon sinks and the means for their advancement Finland

This study examines the potential, costs and realistic scale of technological carbon sinks in Finland over the medium term more closely than in the previous publicly available literature. Technological carbon sinks can refer to various technological solutions for permanently removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This study looks solely at the capture and geological storage of biogenic carbon dioxide from energy production and industrial facilities in Finland. This selection is based on the assumption that these methods can be used to achieve the largest technological sink in Finland over the medium term.

Up-to-date information has been compiled on biogenic carbon dioxide-emitting facilities in Finland, whose total emissions exceed 0.1 MtCO2 per year per facility. The facility-specific costs for carbon dioxide capture, transportation and storage in the North Sea region have been calculated. In addition, the prospects of geological storage capacity in Northern Europe have been examined based on public projects, anticipating the potential amount of available capacity for Finland’s technological sinks. This study also explores reverse auctions, or competitive bidding, as a possible support mechanism for technological carbon sinks, which currently lack direct economic incentives in Finland, except for units produced for voluntary carbon markets.

The combined biogenic emissions from these facilities are approximately 28 MtCO2 per year. Biogenic carbon dioxide emissions exceed 1.0 MtCO2 per year in nine facilities, resulting in cost reductions for producing technological sinks due to economies of scale. From these larger facilities, a total of 7.3 MtCO2 per year of biogenic carbon dioxide could be captured from facilities on the coast, and 8.4 MtCO2 per year from facilities inland. The unit cost of producing carbon sinks from Finland’s industrial emission sources varies at approximately €120–€240/tCO2 on a case-by-case basis. Costs are the lowest for large facilities located on the coast. The most cost-effective facilities are often those in manufacturing industries, where larger facility sizes are common due to economies of scale in production. The forest industry stands out among the most cost-effective sources of biogenic CO2. For small facilities, costs could be significantly reduced by sharing transportation infrastructure with other facilities.

Based on current knowledge, a significant amount of carbon dioxide storage capacity is expected to be available on the market from 2030 onwards. Based on public sources of storage project assessments, free storage capacity in Northern Europe is expected to be around 10 MtCO2 per year at that time, although the latest project plans from Denmark may increase the estimate of available storage capacity. Storage capacity could pose a significant constraint on Finland’s technological sinks during the study period which extends until 2035, unless there is a significant increase in negotiation and project preparation activity.

An investigation into reverse auctions or other support mechanisms should be initiated soon if projects are to be implemented in the early 2030s. There are several facilities in Finland that could potentially participate in the bidding process, with preliminary cost estimates for implementing technological sinks ranging from €120 to €150/tCO2. The actual bids and, thus, the required budget are difficult to estimate, as there is as of yet insufficient experience in the operation and costs of the technology as well as the whole carbon dioxide transport and storage value chain.

Additional publication details

ISSN: 2737-0666
ISBN: 978-952-7457-30-6
DOI: [to be added later]

To be cited as:
Kujanpää, L., Koponen, K., Linjala, O., Mäkikouri, S., Arasto, A. 2023. Opportunities provided by
technological carbon sinks and the means for their advancement in Finland. The Finnish Climate
Change Panel’s report 7/2023.

© Finnish Climate Change Panel