Vattenfall is investing continuously to improve the environmental performance of our power plants.
The most significant environmental impact of Vattenfall’s is CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in energy generation, both in terms of quantity and their effect on global warming.
Other significant emissions from Vattenfall´s operations are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particles. These emissions have been significantly reduced through modern technology.
Reducing CO2 emissions
Vattenfall’s stated purpose is to be among the leaders in developing environmentally sustainable energy production. The goal of reducing the company’s CO2 emissions is a key part of achieving this vision, and the company is continuing its work with methods to reach the goal of 65 million tonnes by 2020. To date, Vattenfall has implemented measures that have cut its CO2 emissions to 85 million tonnes in 2012. Further measures will be needed to bring this level down to 65 million tonnes. Vattenfall intends to develop alternative plans of action for ensuring that this goal is achieved by 2020.
Examples of such measures include co-combustion of biomass in coal-fired plants and changing the type of fuel when older plants are phased out. (e.g., replacing coal-fired plants with gas-fired or biomass-based plants). Vattenfall is also counting on a lower number of hours in operation for existing coal-fired plants (and thus lower CO2 emissions) in connection with rising share of renewable energy in the system.
Vattenfall intends to continue operating its existing coal-fired power plants as long as they are economically competitive. Closing profitable power plants would be a destruction of capital. On the other hand, no lifetime extensions will be made of existing coal-fired plants until there is a positive framework in place for CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) and the technology is fully developed and commercially feasible.
Other significant emissions from Vattenfall’s operations are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particles. These emissions are significantly reduced by flue gas cleaning, which has been installed in modern plants.
Small amounts of greenhouse gases other than CO2, such as nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), are produced in boilers when any fuel is combusted. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is still used in some electrical equipment. Vattenfall strives to reduce emissions as far as possible by using advanced technologies to keep its emission below national and regional requirements.