CLIMIT's programme plan for 2013-2020 places greater emphasis on innovation, internationalisation and communication.
The intention is faster progression in innovative solutions that make CCS more affordable. The industry sector has also joined in the effort and CLIMIT has several projects with exciting goals that will promote new technology.
Read more about specific projects later on in the article.
"Norwegian expert communities are already among the best in the world within several areas of CCS research. Cooperation with international players who excel in areas which are linked to your own research and development, leads to even more innovation and technology development," says Jørild Svalestuen, senior adviser in Gassnova.
Significant Norwegian benefit
The benefit Norway derives from these cooperation projects is that our research communities gain valuable new knowledge that drives development, and expands the international network.
These projects also help Norway build up new infrastructure for innovative research, thus allowing research institutions to expand the range of services they offer.
"We also get help to commercialise Norwegian technology, and Norwegian research earns even higher international status. This provides a foundation for Norwegian expert communities to gain access to more international projects," says Svein Bekken, senior adviser in Gassnova.
Cooperation enhances quality
"One of CLIMIT's goals is to maintain high quality research, and to let Norwegian researchers be challenged by others, thus promoting development. We want Norwegian research communities to also work towards the EU. When researchers learn from each other, this will contribute to raising the level of Norwegian research, yield better results and better equip Norway to join even more EU projects. Joint announcements make it easier for researchers to work together, and this is a way to ensure cooperation between groups that complement each other and work toward common goals," emphasises Åse Slagtern, special adviser in the Research Council of Norway.
The CLIMIT portfolio illustrates that many groups have already made great progress within international cooperation. As many as 70 per cent of the CLIMIT R&D projects currently include some form of international cooperation.
CLIMIT'S PORTFOLIO INCLUDES MANY PROJECTS WITH CONSIDERABLE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION. HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:
Methodology for estimating costs of CO2 capture at refineries
Recap is a project that can contribute to higher status. SINTEF is leading the development of an efficient method of assessing the cost of retrofitting CO2 capture systems at refineries, which account for 15 per cent of Europe's CO2 emissions.
The initiative for this study came from the International Energy Agency, IEA, which asked SINTEF to lead this work. This represented another feather in SINTEF's cap, and their work will build on previous experience in evaluating CCS technology for oil refineries, as performed in FME BIGCCS.
Partners in the project are IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme, Shell Global Solutions and CONCAWE. The latter is a group of leading oil companies and refineries. Foster Wheeler is an important subcontractor in the project, with keen insight into CO2 capture from refineries.
The goal of this project is that every oil refinery should be able to use this tool and the methodology developed to assess consequences in the form of costs and potential reductions in efficiency through using CCS.
Checking environmental impact of non-aqueous solvents
SINTEF also takes part in a project currently being launched by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) in North Carolina, USA, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy. The project aims to map potential environmental aspects of new CO2 solvents that are not mixed into water, so-called non-aqueous solvents.
Through e.g. previous CLIMIT projects, SINTEF has developed methods, analysis equipment and test rigs to map environmental and corrosion problems associated with water-soluble solvents. RTI therefore found that SINTEF was the world's foremost expert as regards doing the necessary job within their project.
RTI's solvents have different properties than conventional water-based solvents, and they hold the potential for significant reduction of the energy needed for regeneration.
By taking part in the project, SINTEF will expand its commercial service concept to also include non-aqueous absorbents, while simultaneously expanding its network in the US.
RTI also participates in testing at Norcem in Brevik. A project is being run there where two Norwegian and two foreign technologies for CO2 capture, both mature and immature, are tested to find out whether the technologies can handle flue gases in cement plants.
Commercialising Norwegian membrane technology
NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) has developed and patented a new type of polymer membranes for CO2 capture. The membranes utilise a reversible reaction between CO2 and the membrane material to boost permeability and selectivity. The results so far are extremely promising, and the membranes are considered to have a significant potential.
Statoil led the development project in the beginning, but NTNU is currently in the driver's seat. NTNU has included major international membrane manufacturer Air Products in the effort to further develop and commercialise the membranes.
Statoil still takes part in the development. Canadian Alberta Innovates is another important international partner, and includes several oil companies. The membranes are also one of the four technologies currently being subjected to small-scale tests on cement flue gas from Norcem.
CO2 capture in a lifecycle perspective
NTNU also heads a project to develop a framework and a method for assessing capture technologies based on technology, economy and environment in a lifecycle perspective: Environmental due diligence of CO2 capture and utilization technologies (EDDiCCUT).
The Tel-Tek research foundation in Porsgrunn, the Utrecht University, the Netherlands, Siemens, E.ON, Shell and Indian Bahrat Petroleum are project partners.
The objective is to test the framework through case studies and to arrive at a best practice for how to perform assessments (due diligence) of various technologies. This will be published and made available to the public so that everyone can make use of the methods.
Pre-treatment of flue gas to remove SO2
The CLIMIT programme board has also granted support for a SINTEF-led project aimed at pre-treating flue gas to make it more optimal for CO2 capture. The sulphur content in the waste gas has recently garnered great international attention as smog problems, degradation, corrosion and regeneration of solvents constitute a demanding environmental and cost-intensive problem.
SINTEF will establish infrastructure and expertise in SO2 capture in connection with the existing CCS pilot facility at Tiller in Trondheim. The Canadian company Shell Cansolv is a partner in the project, which will start up when the agreements are signed this autumn.
Joint announcements stimulate research cooperation
FENCO-NET is a group of European organisations that are responsible for financing national research and development programmes in fossil energy. CLIMIT represents Norway in FENCO-NET.
A joint announcement in 2013 resulted in financing of four CCS projects with participation by and close cooperation from research institutions in Norway, Greece, Poland and the UK. Three of the projects work on developing new processes and materials that can make CO2 capture more efficient and less costly. The fourth project deals with developing new methods for monitoring CO2 storage offshore.
The total budget for these four projects is approx. two million euro. Each country finances its national research groups. One of the projects will be led by SINTEF, one will be led by the University of Oslo, and yet another features participation from SINTEF.
EU funds for joint projects
A similar initiative is ERA-NET Cofund, which is a new policy instrument under the Horisont 2020 research and innovation programme. ERA-NET Cofund is an arena for countries to cooperate on joint announcements, and the EU Commission can provide additional financing.
The Research Council and Gassnova are currently working to develop such an initiative. If this is successful, they aim for the first potential joint announcement in late 2015 or early 2016, with a programme budget of tens of millions of euros.
Long-term USA cooperation
The US has significant activity in capture and storage of CO2, and is an important partner country for Norway when it comes to CCS. Conversations on this topic have been held at the Ministry level. Several of CLIMIT's projects are already engaged in cooperation with the US.
Examples of this include two projects in oxygen and hydrogen combustion with close cooperation between SINTEF in Norway, the university in Berkeley and Sandia National Laboratories, both in the USA.
One of the projects' goals is to create a network within modelling and simulation of combustion between world-leading researchers in Norway and the US, and to prepare models that describe this combustion in detail. This work will provide a basis for developing better business models.