With considerable experience as a research manager in the energy sector, especially after having been president of the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) for many years, Dr. Bendiksen has a thorough understanding of research management and technology development. He initiated and for more than a decade headed the development of the OLGA model for simulation of multiphase transport of oil and gas. Dr. Bendiksen chaired the Gas Technology Committee appointed by the Stoltenberg government in 2001 to evaluate the environment-friendly use of natural gas in Norway and specifically CCS at Kårstø (Official Norwegian Report NOU 2002:7).
Since then, Dr. Bendiksen has actively taken part in the energy debate, voicing opinions which were not always politically correct, but always scientifically well-founded. Now he will take on the task of leading the CLIMIT programme towards more emphasis on demonstration and pilot projects. Kjell Bendiksen succeeds Mr. Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup as chairman of the CLIMIT programme board on 1 August 2010
Kjell Bendiksen is clear about the main challenge standing in the way of realising CCS.
– The costs have to be drastically reduced. The challenge is to develop CCS technology for coal and gas-fired power plants that that can be mass-produced and thus compete with conventional plants on the global market, assuming an adequate price for CO2 quotas. This requires technological innovation and new solutions which have considerably higher energy efficiency, reduce the present cost gap for CCS, and demonstrate safe, large-scale storage of CO2. Furthermore, we have to create a market for CCS, a market which does not yet exist. I am convinced that if CCS is to achieve global implementation and thereby make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions, we are dependent on technological breakthroughs that can provide us with completely new,"game change" technology, he says.
This is where the CLIMIT programme can come to play an important role.
– CLIMIT is perhaps our most important national commitment to developing new technology that can considerably reduce the costs of CCS. The programme covers the entire value chain from CO2 capture to processing, transport and storage. CLIMIT gathers all Norwegian R&D efforts from Gassnova, the Research Council and industry, from basic research to pilot plants and technology demonstrations.
– How can Norway contribute to the development of CCS in a global perspective?
– In my opinion, the rich part of the world, and Norway as a major oil and gas exporting country, should be responsible and take the lead in the development and commercialisation of new CCS technology. Norway got off to an early start and has excellent research environments at universities, research institutes and in industry. The Norwegian commitment to R&D and demonstration of new technology, not least in the CLIMIT programme, can come to play an important role internationally.
– How does research in Norway compare to what is being done in other countries?
– The basic research environments in Norway are on par with the best international ones. Regarding CO2 storage, we are not behind anyone; consider for example our experience from the Sleipner field in the North Sea. However, when it comes to demo and pilot facilities, I would not say that we are world leaders.
- What is the market potential?
– If CCS is going to have any kind of global impact, we are talking about a market of 2-4000 CCS-equipped power plants in the course of a few decades. In addition, a market will open up for the infrastructure to deposit 10-20 billion tons of CO2 annually, in other words, 100-200 billion tons of CO2 per decade. In comparison, the world's total energy consumption, expressed as oil equivalents, is about 11 billion tons per year. The energy demand is highest in the rapidly developing countries, especially China, India and Brazil – and that's where the market is.
– How are you going to increase Norwegian industry's interest in the commercialisation of CCS technology and services?
– Norway does not have a significant need for additional power. On the contrary, in the long run we will probably have a domestic power surplus. Thus, CCS technology developed in Norway will primarily be exported, except for use in connection with industrial point-source emissions. If we are to succeed in involving Norwegian industry, considering the limitations of the domestic market, the access to innovative, internationally competitive technology and solutions could be crucial. This is where, in my opinion, CLIMIT plays a major role in a Norwegian context.
A reasonable postponement
– Did it make sense to postpone the construction of the CO2 capture plant at Mongstad, or did Norway miss out on an opportunity in this case?
– The postponement was regrettable, but not really unexpected. Mongstad is a demanding project. The schedule was too ambitious to begin with. Then new technical challenges arose during planning, which in turn required new studies to enable the development of a robust, integrated technical solution. Thus, I believe that the postponement was reasonable.
– What are your ambitions as the board chairman?
– It is still a bit too early to be specific. I commenced my duties on August 1st, and have so far only been through an introductory project review with the CLIMIT secretariat. The programme disposes of considerable funds, and it is naturally important to make the most of these funds – both from an economic and a research strategic point of view. I guess we can talk about my ambitions later, says Kjell Bendiksen.
Kjell Bendiksen (62) has a cand. real (master's) degree in nuclear physics and a PhD degree in fluid mechanics from the University of Oslo (UiO), where he also has held a position as adjunct professor in multiphase flow. He chaired the government-appointed Gas Technology Committee and serves on several international scientific committees, such as the European Commission's Advisory Group on Energy. Dr. Bendiksen was the President of the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) from 1995 to 1 May 2010. Currently, he is Research Director at IFE and professor of energy technology at the Department of Physics, UiO.