CCS is now a realistic opportunity
Carbon capture has become a strategic tool. Industrial companies consider the new technology as an opportunity to bolster their position in a green market.
IN 2005, CLIMIT WAS founded on a mission to stimulate research and innovation in the field of carbon management.
CLIMIT was established as an instrument to develop the technology all the way from basic research to piloting and demonstration.
– Since then, there has been a rapid development. Today, the technologyis ready to be deployed. This is the reason why industrial companies have become more engaged. And CLIMIT has been a driving force in creating this innovation chain, says Hans Jørgen Vinje, who until recently headed up CLIMIT.
We are experiencing a turn in the climate debate. Until recently, the effort has been directed towards developing green energy sources that can replace fossil fuels. However, sun and wind can only reduce the emissions, not remove CO2 from industrial processes.
Energy accounts for 25 percent of the greenhouse gases, while the industry emits 20 percent. This is why the production of materials that society needs – such as cement, steel, aluminium, etc. – now receives more attention.
A new trend is that companies themselves are asking for technology that cuts emissions. They want to make products with smaller carbon footprints. Through a strategic, long term focus on green products, an industrial company can strengthen its global market position.
– Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is the only technology that can reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, by putting the CO2 back where it came from, says Vinje.
Extensive work lies behind the development of the technology. Thousands of thoughts have spawned concrete results.
– CLIMIT emphazises the applicabilityof research. When we receive applications for funding, we also evaluate whether the researchers include a plan delineating how their research can generate business. Moreover, CLIMIT requires that researchers obtain financing from the industry, says Vinje.
Close cooperation between research and industry is one of the reasons why the technology is now mature and ready for implementation. Industrial competence is injected into the research process, and a significant share of the research revolves around identifying cost-effective solutions. Most of the projects covered in this report, represent a synergy between researchers and end-users of technology.
– Research projects funded by CLIMIT, have contributed with insight and knowledge that will be decisive in the realization of Norway’s first fullscale CCS project, now under development, says Vinje.
TOWARDS FULLSCALE INFRASTRUCTURE
Construction of a fullscale plant for capture, transport and storage of CO2 will represent a turning point both for the research community and the industry.
– When we put the technology to use, we will acquire important experience and insight. And this will speed up the innovation cycle, says Arvid Nøttvedt, Program Board Director of CLIMIT.
A fullscale CCS plant will open upfor completely new opportunities. The project includes an infrastructure for the entire value chain. Thus, the industry can focus on the capture of carbon – because transport and storage have already been taken care of.Furthermore, an infrastructure will acommodate for more flexible solutions.
Companies can catch parts of the emissions, which are fed into the transport system. This is less demanding, both in terms of technology and economics. Concepts for partial capture makes it possible to take out smaller amounts of CO2 from more locations, and simultaneously achieve significant reductions in totale missions.
The Norwegian fullscale CCS project has also garnered attention outside the country. One example is Preem, which is one of the largest emittors of CO2 in Sweden due to its many refineries. In cooperation with Aker Solutions, SINTEF, Chalmers and Equinor, Preem has received funding from CLIMIT and the Swedish Energy Agency.
In a project that will run for three years, the CCS technology of Aker Solutions will be tested out on the refinery in Lysekil, Sweden, and the possibilities for a connection to the Norwegian fullscale project will be evaluated.
– It is indeed positive that the planned fullscale infrastructure opens up for expansion at a future date. This will make it possible to test a scaled construction of a CCS value chain, says Nøttvedt.
Norway is one of the leading nations when it comes to competence on carbon capture.
– Consequently, we consider it important to share our knowledge in this field with central players internationally, says Vinje.
CLIMIT is an active contributor to the international research organization ERA-NET ACT. The program counts members from 11 countries, in Europe as well as the US. Both research institutions and process industry companies participate. An array of significant projects are developed under the auspices of ACT.