Ørsted, Aker Carbon Capture, and Microsoft have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore ways to support the development of carbon capture and storage at biomass-fired heat and power plants in Denmark.

Carbon capture and storage is accepted as an important instrument in meeting the Danish climate targets of 70 % carbon reduction by 2030 and the Paris Agreement's goal to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 deg C.

The three companies will co-operate to address technological, regulatory, and commercial challenges and opportunities for creating negative emissions by capturing and storing carbon emitted by biomass-fired heat and power stations, with each party playing crucial and distinct commercial roles.  

Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the parties agreed to explore the possibility of jointly developing a negative emission project at one of Ørsted's biomass plants in Denmark, potentially at Northern Lights where Microsoft is an existing partner; to explore a technology collaboration to integrate Microsoft's digital expertise into a biogenic carbon capture project with Aker Carbon Capture's health, safety & environment (HSE) friendly capture technology; to explore ways for the three companies to jointly accelerate the development of a biogenic carbon capture project; and to explore and establish advocacy of policies that help accelerate the negative emission frameworks in European countries. 

Through the successful completion of activities within these four areas, it is the ultimate vision of the parties to drive forward the process of facilitating negative emissions and reaching actual operation of a commercial and technical setup creating substantial negative emissions. 

Today, Ørsted has six biomass-fired units and provides around one quarter of Denmark's district heating. Even though the company foresees that technologies based on renewable power will replace a substantial part of bioenergy in the district heating towards 2040, it expects carbon capture at a number of biomass-fired units to play an important role in the energy transition.

"Carbon capture will most likely be an important part of the green transition, and we see opportunities for capturing the carbon at some of our biomass-fired heat and power plants and either store it underground in order to achieve negative emissions or use the carbon for the production of green fuels in Power-to-X facilities. Therefore, we're currently exploring the regulatory, technical, and economic possibilities of carbon capture at our facilities," says Ole Thomsen, senior vice president at Ørsted.

Microsoft globally participates in several initiatives to drive the reduction of carbon emissions, has been carbon neutral across the world since 2012 and commits to being carbon negative by 2030. 

"The relationship with Ørsted and Microsoft opens [the way] for a potential first-of-a-kind, accelerated biogenic CCS project," says Valborg Lundegaard, CEO of Aker Carbon Capture, a company that has been developing carbon capture technologies and delivered projects for more than ten years.