The Danish carbon balance and its technological implications towards carbon neutrality

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


The excessive global consumption of hydrocarbons as fuels and raw material for the chemical industry are the main reason for increasing CO2 emissions causing the climate change. To identify the most effective mitigation measures towards a carbon neutral society, an in-depth understanding of carbon flows is a fundamental prerequisite. The present study presents an analysis of a countries’ carbon balance, with Denmark as an example. Excellent data availability and the countries’ ambitious goals for carbon neutrality makes it an ideal candidate for this study [1,2].
The different carbon streams within Denmark must be taken into consideration. At first, the origin of the various carbon resources comprises inter alia fossil feedstocks (coal, oil, natural gas etc.) and renewable ones (agriculture, forestry etc.). All major routes of application of carbon by energetic and non-energetic utilization are followed to understand, where the carbon is used in linear way, where additional process-related CO2 emissions are generated or in which products it remains. This will consider the different streams of private, industrial, and public use of carbon. Finally, the carbon remaining in products and the recycled amounts as well as CO2 emissions for linearly used products at the end-of-life cycle are studied.
All major carbon streams are combined in an entire carbon balance for Denmark. This analysis is performed for a reference year to gain a complete picture from the origin up to final retention of the carbon. This kind of investigation allows a detailed analysis and decision making for the practical implementation of technologies to avoid the carbon being emitted as CO2. For the transformation towards carbon neutrality in the Danish case, it will give a guideline how the reduction of the CO2 emissions and the establishment of a carbon circular economy can be performed in a technologically effective and cost-efficient way.

[1] Nielsen, O.-K., Plejdrup, M.S., Winther, M., Nielsen, M., Gyldenkærne, S., Mikkelsen, M.H., Albrektsen, R., Thomsen, M., Hjelgaard, K., Fauser, P., Bruun, H.G., Johannsen, V.K., Nord-Larsen, T., Vesterdal, L., Stupak, I., Scott-Bentsen, N., Rasmussen, E., Petersen, S.B., Baunbæk, L., Hansen, M.G. 2022. Denmark's National Inventory Report 2022: Emission Inventories 1990–2020 – Submitted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. Scientific Report from DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, No. 494, Aarhus University, Aarhus.
[2] Osei-Owusu, A.K., Thomsen, M., Lindahl, J., Javakhishvili Larsen, N., Caro, D. 2020. Track-ing the carbon emissions of Denmark's five regions from a producer and consumer per-spective. Ecological Economics, 177, pp. 106778.
Period26 Sept 2023
Event title11th International Freiberg Conference on Circular Carbon Economy: Towards Net-Zero Carbon Economy
Event typeConference
LocationRotterdam, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational