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Fortum’s pilot successful in capturing and utilising CO2 emissions of waste incineration – moves forward with plans to produce fossil free plastics

28 February 2023, 17:16 EET


Fortum’s Recycling and Waste business aims to significantly improve the circulation of materials in waste streams using next-generation circular economy solutions. The company’s Carbon2x concept, launched in April 2022, aims to transform the Waste-to-Energy sector by recycling the CO2 emissions of waste incineration and turning the emissions into CO2 -based plastics. The ongoing development work is now moving forward with the next phase of development work, planning to start producing CO2-based plastics.

“Combining carbon capture in the context of waste incineration and using that CO2 to make sustainable plastics will help to reduce dependence on fossil-based raw materials, improve Europe’s self-sufficiency, and decarbonise waste incineration. The now starting development phase focuses on finding the right technology to convert the captured CO2 into plastics,” says Tony Rehn, Carbon2x Programme Director, Fortum Recycling & Waste.

The next phase of the development work follows a successful carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) pilot, previously concluded at Fortum's Riihimäki Waste-to-Energy plant. The CCU pilot placed Fortum among the first companies in the world to have successfully captured its own CO2emissions and used the emissions to produce methane. Now the company is one step closer to revolutionise the Waste-to-Energy sector.

“I am very excited that we can move forward with our plans to start producing the first quantities of CO2-based plastics by building our own container research laboratory next to our Riihimäki Waste-to-Energy plant. The laboratory will be a state-of-the-art mobile facility that can test all possible production routes for converting our CO2 emissions into plastics,” Rehn says.

“Our research for the CO2-based plastics has already started. The aim of the Carbon2x concept is to tie our captured carbon into physical products. The plastics that we are making will be fossil-free and the applications of CO2-based plastics are very versatile. They can be used in food packaging, textiles and cosmetics, for example,” Rehn says.

The research lab is expected to be up and running in Riihimäki, Finland during Q4/2023, aiming to find the best technologies and processes in using waste incineration originated  CO2 emissions as a feedstock for producing  CO2-based plastics. In addition to the Riihimäki plant, Fortum has waste incineration plants in Denmark and Sweden, and the company is constructing a new waste incineration plant in the UK as well.  Fortum foresees piloting different CCU technologies and solutions in these other Waste-to-Energy facilities in preparation for a possible large-scale industrial demo plant that could potentially begin within the next five years.


Further information

Tony Rehn, Carbon2x Programme Director, Fortum Recycling & Waste, tony [dot] rehn [at] fortum [dot] com, tel. +358 40 485 5857

Maiju Daniel-Huhtaniska, Communications & Marketing Manager, Fortum Recycling & Waste, maiju [dot] daniel-huhtaniska [at] fortum [dot] com, tel. +358 50 350 2861