Portugal power-to-liquid project makes sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) from municipal waste-derived CO2


One of the first synthetic eFuel production units in Europe could be implemented at an Energy Recovery Plant near Porto.

Deploying a seemingly innovative technology configuration and design, the group behind it, LIPOR, suggests it is set to revolutionize the waste-to-energy industry while simultaneously decarbonizing the aviation sector.

An interdisciplinary consortium, formed by LIPOR (Intermunicipal Waste Management of Greater Porto), P2X Europe and Veolia is launching feasibility studies for the fully integrated industrial-scale Power-to-Liquid (PtL) facility, which is located at the Maia Energy Recovery Plant (Waste-to-Energy, WtE).

The project will allow the production of green synthetic eFuel for the aviation industry from the CO2 captured from the waste gas stream of the WtE plant combined with green hydrogen. In a first phase, up to 100.000 tons of captured biogenic CO2 will be recycled for conversion into eFuels and ultimate upgrading into synthetic green end products, such as drop-in eKerosene, eDiesel and specialty chemical products.

The envisaged Carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) implementation at LIPOR’s Energy Recovery Plant consists of capturing, extracting and purifying the biogenic part of CO2, present in about 60% of the carbon dioxide emissions generated as a result of the incineration process.

As part of the highly innovative PtL project, CCU technology can be seamlessly integrated into the existing energy recovery plant, resulting in near-zero – or even negative – CO2 emission power generation, thus significantly improving the environmental and energy balances of municipal waste incineration.

This initiative is therefore a decisive strategic step for LIPOR in achieving its mission of transforming municipal waste into new resources through the implementation of innovative and circular practices.

It sets a milestone in the WtE industry as it moves away from the linear “take-make-use -dispose” model and offers a ground-breaking alternative to accelerate the world’s transition to a credible circular economy, which is fully in line with Portugal’s energy and climate policies and the country’s ambition to achieve Carbon Neutrality latest by 2050.

José Manuel Ribeiro, President of LIPOR said: “This project sets a good example on how waste management systems can make a relevant contribution to the decarbonization of the economy and to Carbon Neutrality. And more than contributing, they can lead, paving the way through innovative projects like the one that we are going to implement and which will also contribute to position Portugal among the first countries to invest in the circular carbon economy.”

José de Melo Bandeira, Veolia Portugal CEO added: “Carbon capture technologies are part of the journey for decarbonizing our industrial processes. Reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions has its own limits, therefore capturing, storing or using these gases is critical for successful global results. This project is an excellent example of collaboration between various industrial players for the ecological transformation, towards innovative and challenging solutions that will create a benchmark and hopefully inspire others to follow.” Christoph Weber, P2X Europe co-CEO added: “By capturing CO2 from the waste gas stream before being released into the atmosphere, the “Waste-to-Jet” project gives non-recyclable municipal waste a climate-friendly afterlife. Integrating PtL technology into existing WtE plants provides a unique solution for the simultaneous decarbonization of waste management and air travel.”