Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. A major effort is currently under way to limit Earth's temperature rise to 1.5°C, which would require the world to reach zero net GHG emissions between 2030 and 2050. Climate is at the core of our strategy and we are working together with customers, partners, authorities and cities to support the transition to a climate neutral society.
Our long term target is to be fossil-free within a generation. In 2020 the ambition level is to reduce the emissions to 21 million tonnes CO2.
Our main emissions besides CO2 are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and dust resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels and biomass in power plants, which we strive to reduce to a minimum.
Our efforts to reduce our emissions to a minimum are very comprehensive and diverse:
- The divestment of our lignite operations in fall 2016 reduced our emissions from about 84 million tonnes CO2 to just over 23 million tons.
- To further reduce CO2, we are phasing out coal, for example by converting the Klingenberg plant to gas; we are installing efficient gas-fired CHPs; and we are developing new energy and heat solutions, for example power to heat.
- Further, we are enabling our partners to reach their climate targets through our products and service. We offer low carbon products such as electricity and heat from renewables and nuclear, energy efficiency solutions and decentralized production together with solutions for electrification of transports. We strive to provide full transparency on the environmental performance of our products through our life cycle based Environmental Product Declarations.
- We cooperate with partners, suppliers, cities, and customers to set joint CO2 targets. We focus on electrification of industry processes in joint projects with heavy industry.
- To improve air quality, we take primary measures, for example a targeted mix of coal quality or combustion controlling (NOx, CO) as well as secondary flue gas cleaning measures like electrostatic precipitators or filter bags (dust), flue gas desulphurisation (SO2) and DENOX (NOx).
Examples of achievements
- Decision taken to convert our Klingenberg plant to gas in 2017, three years ahead of schedule, saving about 600,000 tonnes CO2 per year.
- Already now nearly all coal power plants in Germany meet the national mercury emission limits valid from 2019.
- By optimisation measures the Swedish thermal power plants reached an all-time-low in NOx per produced MWh in 2016.
Continue long-term phase-out of coal throughout our operations.
Replace peat and oil with biomass in Uppsala to help the city become climate neutral by 2030.
Further develop power-to-heat technology to maximize benefit from intermittent renewable energy and reduce emissions from the heat system.
Adapt our small and medium sized thermal power plants to meet the emission levels set by the Medium Combustion Plant Directive.
Develop an approach for our large thermal power plants to meet the requirements set by the upcoming revised European Reference Document on the Best Available Techniques for Large Combustion Plants.
- Third Party Integration (TPI): augmenting the district heating network with surplus heat from industrial facilities and commercial operations owned by third parties.
- Efficient gas plants: build combined heat and power (CHP) gas plants that can be run on natural gas (during a transition period) or renewable gas.
- Conversion to biomass.
- Digitalising operations and gathering data about customers' consumption to optimize heat production and reduce fuel consumption.
Starting in 2030 the remaining emissions from heating will be addressed, and natural gas will be phased out as a fuel. This will be possible through a greater supply of renewable electricity, which can also be used for heating. We are currently developing and testing various technologies for this, such as power-to-heat, which entails converting electricity to heat using electric boilers combined with hot water storage, synthetic gas produced by electricity, and heat pumps. In 2017 we began construction of a power-to-heat plant in Berlin that will use electricity to produce heat, allowing for the decommissioning of a coalfired power plant in 2019/20.
Vattenfall also plans to phase out its fossilbased condensing portfolio and has a roadmap in place to achieve this. An example of this is the agreement signed in 2017 to conduct a pilot project aimed at replacing natural gas with hydrogen in part of our Magnum plant in Holland.