Norway’s CCS test facility aims for cost-effective development

Norway is leading the way in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology development as it is home to the largest CCS testing facility in the world. That’s the view of […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Norway is leading the way in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology development as it is home to the largest CCS testing facility in the world.

That’s the view of the Managing Director at the Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) (pictured) located north of Bergen, who claims the facility will play a crucial role in testing different CCS technologies and help the industry develop them in a cost-effective way.

It includes a refinery and a gas-fired Combined Heat and Power plant (CHP) and has two CO2 capture plants each with the capacity to capture around 80,000 tons of carbon emissions from the refinery and 20,000 tons from the gas fired plant.

CCS is seen as a global need for meeting carbon targets and a crucial technology to tackle climate change through the capture of greenhouse gas emissions.

Frank Ellingsen, Managing Director of TCM told ELN: “It is to develop the technology together with the supply industry and the aim is to get the price down and to make sure that the technology will be available at a cost-effective term in the future.”

The industrial-scale carbon testing facility is a joint venture between the Norwegian Government (75.12%), Statoil (20%), Shell (2.44%) and Sasol (2.44%) and since test activity started in July last year, the facility has been in operation for more than 5,000 hours. It also includes a laboratory that collects data from more than 4,000 samples online and around 100 manual samples everyday.

Mr Ellingsen added the facility is unique in that it can test carbon from both coal and gas, which is not available elsewhere.

He said: “It’s the size and it’s having the two sources because you will find quite a few places that you can test CO2 from coal-fired power stations but you will find very few places where you can test flue coming from a gas power station. So the uniqueness is the size, it’s the two different sources and it’s also that we have two different technologies at the same spot at the same time.”

The project has received full support from the Norwegian public as awareness around environmental issues in the country is high, according to Mr Ellingsen.

He said: “The willingness in Norway to pay for the technology and to develop the technology is high because the global challenge linked to CO2 emissions going into the atmosphere is a recognised problem in Norway and the Government in Norway want to be proactive and push and develop the technology for the future.”

The next round of testing of other solvents will start next year at TCM’s amine plant, which is capable of processing up to 80,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. TCM claims global firms like Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Siemens have all registered their interest. It is also offering space for installing further technology test units within the facility.

Earlier this year, the UK Government announced two preferred bidders for carbon capture and storage projects worth £1 billion following the World Energy Council’s assessment suggesting CCS has moved down the industry’s priority list.