A driving force for carbon capture and storage
CLIMIT has played a central role in the development of the world’s most dynamic research environments for CCS. Close cooperation with the industry has been a critical success factor.
IN PARIS IN 2015, the international community agreed that a reinforced commitment is paramount if climate change is to be stopped. The goal set by the signatories, is to limit the increase in temperature to 2°C.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), this goal will be near impossible to reach without capturing CO2 from large sources of emissions and storing it deep underground. There is also broad agreement among researchers, industrial players and decision makers
that CCS technology now is mature and ready for use.
CONTINUITY OF FOCUS
It has required long-term, goaloriented effort to devise practical solutions for all parts of the value chain.
“CLIMIT has been a driving force in the development of CCS technology. Our commitment has spawned knowledge and solutions that benefit the international community,” says Arvid Nøttvedt, Chairman of the CLIMIT Board of Directors.
“While interest in CCS technology has recovered in Europe, after a period of decline, CLIMIT has been a stable contributer to research in this field. Norway is one of the few countries that has kept a continuous focus on CCS research and development.”
Since the establishment in 2005 and up to 2019, CLIMIT has financially supported almost 500 research projects with more than NOK 2 billion. The research institutions that have
received funds, represent a diverse set of competencies and approaches. Projects have been selected on the basis of a comprehensive evaluation of which parts of the innovation chain that needs funding most.
“It’s the responsibility of CLIMIT’s management and Board of Directors to ensure a balanced portfolio, so we can achieve the overarching goals defined in our program. Hence, CLIMIT has a strategic role,” says Nøttvedt.
In addition to financial support, CLIMIT sees competence sharing as a key goal. Projects receiving funds are encouraged to communicate results to a wide range of stakeholders. Moreover, CLIMIT organizes a major conference biannually, gathering Norwegian and international expertise in this field, both researchers and industry representatives.
Through presentations and panel discussions, relationships are formed and competence shared among professionals and organizations. In 2019, 270 experts from Norway and abroad participated at the CLIMIT Summit in Oslo.
AT A CROSSROADS
Technologies and solutions for the handling of CO2 have been developed, and are ready to be used on an industrial scale. At the same time, CLIMIT continues to support projects that develop new solutions, and projects that can reduce costs and risk.
“The cornerstone of our approach is to support projects where industrial companies are engaged,” says Nøttvedt. “Thus, in order to receive funding for applied research from CLIMIT, projects should obtain as much economic contributions from industrial partners as possible. This arrangement encourages the partners to create technological solutions that the industry really need.”
The Norwegian full-scale CCS project currently being planned, represents a crossroads. In addition to keeping a steady course when it comes to building knowledge, CLIMIT maintains its focus on the full-scale project. An important goal in the time to come, will be to contribute to the successful completion of the project.
One challenge is to involve more industrial plants, so that the capacity of the infrastructure is filled. And at a future point in time, scaling up capture and storage capacity must also be addressed. The forthcoming investment decision will include clear expectations on these issues.
Currently, a broad set of stakeholders are evaluating the opportunities a full-scale project will bring. Both on a national and local level, governmental entities are preparing plans describing how the infrastructure can best be used.
Industrial companies have become more deeply involved and are now making necessary arrangements for implementing CCS technology. In this area, CLIMIT will contribute with financing for research projects that can pave the way for scaling up and ensuring optimal utilization of the infrastructure.
INDUSTRIAL COMPANIES PARTNERING UP
“The CLIMIT Board of Directors is very pleased and encouraged by the wide range of industrial players showing interest in CCS technology. There has been a visible upswing in involvement over the last few years,” says Nøttvedt.
“We now see that industrial clusters want to implement capture technology and feed the CO2 from their plants into the full-scale value chain,” says Ingrid Sørum Melaaen, director
of CLIMIT. “The CO2 Hub Nordland, the Eyde cluster in Arendal and Øra Industrial Area in Fredrikstad are such examples.”
THE ROAD AHEAD
As a way to reduce CO2 emissions, CCS is in many cases competitive with other measures. One challenge is that it’s still far cheaper to discharge CO2 than to correct damages caused by climate change.
“We lack solid business models, and this slows down the implementation of CCS,” says Sørum Melaaen. “Simultaneously, it’s important to support the development of new technology that drives the costs downward. CLIMIT has an important role to play in this regard.”
Going forward, CLIMIT has also defined new strategic areas.
Compact solutions represent one promising concept. Since many industrial sites cover small areas, it’s important to develop installations that occupy little space. Key terms are compactness, standardization and modularization. Smaller units mean less steel and concrete – and less work putting it all together. This translates into lower costs.
And if the operators can manage to take out a larger share of CO2 2 in concentrated form – maybe up to 50 percent CO2 in a stream – the capture becomes more efficient. At industrial plants where adapted installations are not an option, compact units may be the solution.
“We want to support a wide range of projects that can bolster cost effectiveness. This commitment encompasses projects along the entire value chain – from capture via transport to storage,” says Sørum Melaaen.
A promising dimension of the research is the development of new business areas. One example is blue hydrogen, which opens up for a new application of natural gas, and may play a useful part in the transition from fossil-based to renewable energy sources.
“These are good examples of areas that CLIMIT will continue to stimulate – research resulting in practical applications. Moreover, CLIMIT shall think long-term and develop new technologies that can be used in 2040,” says Nøttvedt.
Read more about the results from some of the CLIMIT projects here