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Waste, Cement and Heavy Industry

​In order for Switzerland to achieve its 2050 net-zero goals, substantial decarbonization efforts are necessary in all sectors of the economy. Industries with large CO2 footprints are of special relevance, in particular as many of them can be considered hard-to-abate, i.e. decarbonization involves significant efforts and resources. Examples of these industries are cement and steel production, waste-to-energy or the chemical industry. Given this importance for the success of the national and international decarbonization challenge, sus.lab has focused its efforts on supporting these industries to solve their biggest challenges.

As the largest emitting industry with total emissions of approximately 4.4 million tons of CO2 per year, Swiss Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plants have been the starting point for sus.lab's work. Commissioned by the association of Swiss WtE plants, VBSA, we investigated what could be done with CO2 contained in the Swiss waste and determined that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is the only viable solution at scale. Based on these results. we have followed up with concrete feasibility and scale-up studies. WtE carries even greater significance for Switzerland, as about half of the emissions are biogenic and thus carry potential for much-needed negative emissions.


Accounting for about 8 percent of Swiss annual emissions, the cement sector is another industry in need of decarbonization. Here, it is particularly the complex structure of emissions, composed of process and fuel emissions, that poses challenges. Over the last years, sus.lab has engaged with a number of industry players and will continue to support the industry on its decarbonization journey.


Our Projects

Study on “how to decarbonize” Waste-to-Energy plants in Switzerland
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Assessment of decarbonization options for Swiss WtE plants

Key results:

  • CO2 utilization only viable for very small amounts of CO2

  • Permanent storage is required for 4 Mio tons of CO2; very likely outside of Switzerland

  • Potential for 2 Mio tons of negative emissions

Status: Complete 

Conceptual design/feasibility for a demonstration with WtE plant KVA Linth
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Feasibility of the CCS value chain at WtE plant KVA Linth

Key results:

  • Capture unit is commercially available and can be built in 5 years

  • First-of-a-kind (FOAK) transport chain feasible but scale-up requires pipelines (78 CHF vs 10-15 CHF per ton CO2)

  • Costs per ton of CO2: 156-190 CHF for FOAK, 68-108 CHF for scale-up

  • Investment need is small compared to other infrastructure (<10bn CHF vs 80-100bn for waste water)

Status: Complete 

Feasibility of a CO2 pipeline network in Switzerland

Conceptual design & rough cost estimate for a CO2 collection network 

Preliminary results:

  • A pipeline network connecting the largest 30 emitters is generally feasible

  • Various options regarding operating pressure, delivery points and clustering of emitters exist

  • A number of regulatory questions need to be clarified before proceeding with the next steps


Status: Ongoing


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