NEA, Keppel to jointly study feasibility of carbon capture technologies for waste-to-energy plants

The studies are part of Singapore's efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A study will be conducted to look at the feasibility of employing technologies to capture carbon emissions from waste-to-energy plants here, as part of Singapore's efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.

Waste-to-energy plants work by incinerating waste to recover energy for electricity generation, while reducing the amount of waste from entering Singapore's only landfill on Semakau island.

To further reduce the plant's environmental impact and to improve resource recovery - the extraction of resources from waste - the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the environmental technology and infrastructure unit of Keppel Infrastructure, Keppel Seghers, signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday (July 7) to jointly study the feasibility of carbon capture technologies.

These technologies seek to capture carbon dioxide emissions from the waste-to-energy process for either storage underground, or have it converted into other useful substances such as construction materials.

This will prevent the planet-warming gas from entering the atmosphere.

"While the waste-to-energy plant has helped Singapore to significantly avert methane emissions which arise directly from landfills, carbon capture technologies will enable the waste-to-energy plants to achieve net-zero emissions in their operations, and potentially net-negative emissions," the agencies said in a joint release on Thursday.

To validate the suitability of various carbon capture technologies, the development of a pilot carbon capture facility integrated with selected waste-to-energy plants will also be explored.

The feasibility study will leverage Keppel Seghers' experience and expertise in an early carbon capture feasibility study that was completed last year for the Runcorn energy-from-waste plant in Britain.

Keppel Seghers and NEA will also collaborate to explore the opportunities for offtake and storage of captured carbon to close the carbon cycle loop.

Offtake refers to agreements where companies that require carbon dioxide (CO2) for their industrial processes can purchase captured CO2 from waste-to-energy plants.

NEA's chief executive Luke Goh said that Singapore has adopted a circular economy approach to reducing waste, and maximising its reuse of resources.

"Capturing, storing, and utilising or sequestering the carbon from our waste-to-energy plants will lead to a reduction in the Singapore waste management sector's overall carbon footprint," he added.

One research project funded by the $55 million Low-Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative is looking at how the ash generated from the Nanyang Technological University's waste-to-energy plant can be leveraged to capture the plant's carbon emissions and convert them into construction materials and other useful products.

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