A cleaner refinery
Preem has ambitions of capturing CO2 from the company’s two refineries on Sweden’s west coast. Tests conducted by Aker Solutions will give Preem important operational experience with carbon capture technology.
PREEM IS SWEDEN’S LARGEST fuel company. The operation encompasses production, distribution as well as trading and product sale. The plants in Lysekil and Gothenburg are amongst the most modern and lowest CO2-emitting refineries in Europe. They have a combined capacity of over 18 million cubic meters of crude oil per year and discharge approx. two million tonnes of CO2 every year.
“Preem has a vision of being a leader in the transition towards a sustainable society,” says project director Karin Lundqvist. “And carbon capture will be a necessary measure to reduce emissions of CO2 2 to the atmosphere. The vision entails building full-scale capture plants at the refineries. This will decrease the discharges significantly.”
After meticulous planning, Preem has now startet testing. Aker Solutions has developed a complete pilot-scale mobile test unit (MTU). Parts of the installation are assembled in containers, and these are fast and simple to mount on different parts of the production plant.
The MTU will be in operation from May to October 2020 at the refinery in Lysekil. The test unit will capture CO2 from the flue gas generated in a production plant. In a downscaled absorption tower – with a diameter of a mere ½ meter – the flue gas flows through an amine solution that absorbs CO2 . The amine is then heated in a regenerator tower, and releases the CO2 , which can be isolated in pure form at a later stage. In the last step, the amine is recycled and can be re-used in the process.
“In the test phase we investigate how we can optimize the process for the types of flue gases generated at our refineries,” says Lundqvist. “How can we reduce the energy consumption? And how can we ensure that the removed CO2 is as pure as required for long-term storage? We are studying how the amine behaves and how it degrades. We are also working to lower the emissions of amine as much as possible.”
FOCUS ON THE CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE (CCS) VALUE CHAIN
What are the biggest challenges with the CCS technology? “When it comes to operating the test unit, there are no serious challenges. Rather, it’s important to acquire practical experience with carbon capture at our plant.”
The next step will be to connect the carbon capture facilities at Preem’s refineries to the Northern Lights longterm storage infrastructure, which is a constituent part of the planned Norwegian full-scale CCS project.
“In hooking up to this infrastructure, the challenges are not so much technical as logistical. We are also evaluating the legal challenges of transporting CO2 on ships and over national borders,” says Lundqvist.
The full-scale project encompasses a comprehensive value chain. Firstly, the CO2 will be captured from the production process. Then, the gas will be compressed to liquid form, which occupies less space, and transported to intermediate storage at dedicated loading docks.
“If the planned Northern Lights infrastructure is built, we see this as the natural option for offloading CO2 from our refineries. But our focus on CCS is not solely reliant on this infrastructure,” says Lundqvist.
The Northern Lights route includes transport of CO2 on specialized ships to a hub on the western coast of Norway. From there, the gas will be pumped into a geological structure deep under the sea, where it will be stored permanently.
The PREEM CCS project has the following work packages:
0. Project management and communication of results
1. Demonstration and implementation of CO2 capture 2. Process evaluation of full-scale CO2 capture integrated at Preemraff
3. CCS value chain analysis, CO2 transport and integration in the Norwegian full-scale CCS project
4. Identification of measures to handle legal obstacles for ship transport and storage of CO2 from Preemraff Lysekil for storage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf
5. Roadmap for the reduction of CO2 emissions at Preem related to Sweden’s goal of zero net emissions in 2045
The project is supported by Gassnova via CLIMIT-Demo and the Swedish Energy Agency via Industriklivet
Project: Techno-Economic Feasibility Study of the Implementation of Carbon Capture from Major Emission Sources at Preemraff Lysekil (PREEM CCS)
Project owner: Preem AB
Project period: 2019–2021
Total budget: 28 MNOK
Support from CLIMIT: 9.55 MNOK
Partners: Aker Solutions, SINTEF, Chalmers and Equinor