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Norway launches major carbon capture research programme

Norway launches major carbon capture research programme
Norway has committed to pouring more than £30million (NOK 300million) into a scientific research and development programme with the aim of generating more cost-effective technology for carbon capture.

Norway has committed to pouring more than £30million (NOK 300million) into a scientific research and development programme with the aim of generating more cost-effective technology for carbon capture.

SINTEF, an independent Norwegian research organisation, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Aker Clean Carbon have committed to an eight-year science and development programme with the snappy title of SOLVit.

International energy companies have been invited to participate in the programme. These will provide useful input from the perspective of the facility operator.

Gassnova SF, the Norwegian government’s vehicle for CO management (capture, transport, injection and storage), has approved financial support of £3.4million (NOK 34million) for the first phase of the project, which runs until the end of 2010.

The core of the work will be to identify chemical processes that can capture CO from the process industry and emissions from coal and gas-powered power stations.

Within these sectors, it is estimated that the 4,000 largest facilities account for about 40% of man-made CO emissions globally.

The SOLVit programme aims to generate better and more cost-effective processes and chemicals to manage CO emissions from these facilities.

The programme includes building a large laboratory facility that SINTEF hopes will strengthen its standing in the international arena and improve its position in competition for financial support for scientific research from institutions such as the European Union, according to Unni Steinsmo, chief executive of the organisation.

As for Aker Clean Carbon, the company has, for some time, been heavily involved in competitions for CO-capture projects in Norway and the UK.

The company has a track record of working with SINTEF, notably developing chemical solutions based on amines, which have the ability to cleanse CO.

One of these solutions is already ready to use and phase one of SOLVit will be used to test other amine solutions under development by Aker Clean Carbon and SINTEF.

The objective is to come up with a process facility for CO capture that can operate on half the energy consumption of today’s processes.

The programme also includes building a new laboratory at Tiller, in Trondheim, which will cost £4.2million (NOK 42million). SINTEF will provide £2.5million (NOK 25million) of the equity for the new laboratory, which will be situated next door to the research organisation’s existing multiphase laboratory. The lab will be used for pilot projects and will include a 30m tall tower and 25m processing column – identical to the height needed in full-scale industrial facilities. SINTEF says the lab will also be available for its domestic and international customers and partners.

The SOLVit programme will also involve the testing of chemicals and processes in a mobile capture facility which has been developed by Aker Clean Carbon and is currently being built at Aker Verdal.

SINTEF and NUST have already established laboratories for small-scale testing of CO capture, so with the new facilities, Norway will be among the few countries with a complete set of laboratories in this area, from testing in the lab to pilot runs at semi-industrial scale.

Science and education are an important element of SOLVit and, based on the programme, NUST will offer positions to six doctoral candidates and 10 master’s students.

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