Westenergy refines waste into energy and recyclable materials.

From waste-to-energy to a carbon sink? Westenergy and AFRY co-operate to find ground-breaking carbon capture solutions

Westenergy launched a set of research projects in 2019, aiming to explore new business opportunities for waste-to-energy plants and solutions to development challenges in the waste-to-energy sector in accordance with company’s strategy. The carbon-neutral energy production project aims to study how a waste-to-energy plant could work as a carbon sink and how the different carbon capture systems fit together with the existing process.

The coronavirus pandemic changed the project’s schedule in 2020. Only couple of the planned study visits to the plants with functioning carbon capture systems could be carried out. But otherwise, the progress made exceeded expectations. One of the most important steps in the project was techno-economic research of different capture solutions with the help of simulations.


“We made a lot of new contacts in the CCUS field, increased our techno-economic expertise and most importantly we now have a very clear vision of the prerequisites to achieving carbon neutrality. The right technology, at least, is out there!” Westenergy’s Information Engineer and Head of Business Intelligence Juha Ripatti summarised last year’s progress.


The purpose of the simulations was to study different options for post-combustion capture technology and assess their suitability to Westenergy’s plant as well as to map out actual products from technology providers on the market. ARFY was chosen from several different consultants to complete the study and simulations. Ripatti commented that the cooperation was very successful: “Looking at the results, I’m very satisfied with our choice! Our consultant, Alejandro Nocito did an outstanding, in-depth job and our collaboration was an excellent experience.”



Even at the beginning of the research project, everyone had a clear idea of what this project is aiming for. “We walked through the first steps in this project with a high team spirt towards a future vision of a cleaner environment. Westenergy was open to our suggestions and recommendations and we have had fruitful regular meetings during the development of the study”, AFRY’s consultant Alejandro Nocito commented on the research cooperation.


AFRY has followed the development of carbon capture closely since 2008. Several companies have successfully developed the industry and have been able to specialize in providing these solutions. “We saw very innovative solutions that can make an impact in deployment of CCS across the industry”, Nocito said about the development of the industry.


The study clearly showed that W-t-E with district heat production are very well suited for carbon capture. There are strict requirements for the cleanliness of flue gases in such facilities, which is a great advantage. However, there are challenges too. “We knew that CCS imposes a burden on plant efficiency and its economics, and a mitigation measure is to work on energy integration models to minimize the impact, ” Nocito commented on the difficulties encountered during the project.



As the study is nearing its completion, Westenergy now has a much more comprehensive picture of how different capture techniques work. With the help of this information, we will be concentrating on further studies on the best-performing technologies, and we are also working to find the best way to get a pilot facility to the Westenergy plant. Nationally, however, there is still a lot to catch up with in carbon capture matters.

This is the moment to start planning for CCUS in our national climate and energy policy and to ensure conditions for the capture, usage, and storage of carbon dioxide. “Given what we have seen happening globally, that CCUS could be a significant opportunity for the Finnish technology industries. Cross-sector co-operation as well as public support will be necessary if Finland wants to join the front ranks of CCUS, ” Ripatti summed up the opportunities in the industry.


For further information:

Olli Alhoniemi
Westenergy Oy Ab


Juha Ripatti
Information Engineer/HBI
Westenergy Oy Ab