World’s first carbon-negative port set for Sweden

The Municipality of Tjörn on the Swedish West Coast has announced it will develop a facility for local energy consumption that is fossil-free and carbon-negative, in partnership with Wallhamn and Boson Energy.

The first phase of the project will see an investment of €100 million, and the full project is expected to reach approximately €450 million with all phases and off-take options completed.

Boson Energy has developed a technology for local energy production by using otherwise non-recyclable waste to produce electricity and green methanol.

The green methanol replaces fossil methanol in the chemical and plastics industry, while also meeting the increasing demand in the marine sector.

Both the electricity and fuel will be carbon-negative, as Boson Energy’s process makes it possible to capture carbon dioxide for utilisation or storage in a clean and cost-effective way.

The company said it plans to serve Wallhamn’s growing need for energy and electricity for vehicle charging, as well as supporting the local power grid when needed.

The only solid residue from the conversion process is a glass slag, according to the firm. The glass slag can be used directly, as an environmentally friendly filling material, or further processed into climate-smart insulation material with high circular resource efficiency.

Wallhamn said it considers the project as an opportunity to expand its port operations and realise its goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-negative port.

The production of local electricity means that not only all the port’s vehicles, but also vehicles that are unloaded in the port, will eventually be able to be charged and run fossil-free.

The planned availability of electricity is also expected to allow Wallhamn to expand the port electrification further, by offering shore power connection to arriving vessels.

Torbjörn Wedebrand, CEO of Wallhamn, said: “This project creates very good conditions for our green transition and reliable energy supply – both for our own operations and for our customers. It will be an important part of growing our import/export business while at the same time achieving significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, the various products from Boson Energy’s integrated approach offer very interesting opportunities to develop the entire area around the port. For us, this is a flagship project, and many ports around the world are facing similar challenges.”

As part of the project, Boson Energy has also entered into a cooperation agreement with Ecopromt to build an indoor farming facility for growing vegetables in the vicinity of the port.

The concept that Ecopromt has developed and established involves a circular and area-efficient vegetable production with no impact on the environment.

By establishing the cultivation facility near Boson Energy’s facility, electricity, carbon dioxide and cooling can be delivered directly to the facility – for energy and climate efficient cultivation.

Jan Grimbrandt, founder and CEO of Boson Energy, said: “The Wallhamn project will allow us to demonstrate all aspects of our vision of circular sector coupling. It will show the autonomous and dynamic potential of our 24/7/365 system for local production of electricity and green molecules – in phasing out fossil alternatives.

“The project will cut straight into sectors where it is difficult to decarbonise; such as marine fuels, chemical industry, fertilisers and ultimately even local food production with high-efficiency greenhouses. This project will become a global template that is relevant not only for ports, but also for cities and any kinds of ‘islands’ – all of which face problems of energy access, costs and fossil fuel footprints.”

The municipality’s principal decision means that the parties will work to prepare for the establishment of the facilities.
For the municipality, this means, among other things, investigating the possibility of providing suitable industrial properties in areas covered by the ongoing detailed planning process.

Establishment of the proposed facilities is expected to begin in 2025 at the earliest.

The planned project outputs include 30-40 GWhe of power generated from hydrogen for heavy-duty DC/DC charging, electrification of port operations, shore power connections and peak support to grid; 70,000 tonnes of green methanol from its own green CO2 and H2; and some 60,000 m2 of vertical indoor farming supplied with power, green CO2, and thermal heat/cooling.

Additional thermal heat/cooling will be supplied to port buildings and water produced by the fuel cells in the system will also be recuperated and put to use.

Martin Johansen, chairman of the Municipal Board. said: “Wallhamn AB is not only a major employer, but also an existing local infrastructure. It makes it possible for Tjörn to proactively take new steps to build local energy security and development opportunities for Wallhamn AB – which are both fossil-free and create sustainable jobs. With the municipality’s principle decision, we can now jointly investigate the possibilities to secure the port’s energy supply and create the conditions for new circular business opportunities.”