Want to test CO2 capture in industry

  Hugo Ryvik

CCS on coal and gas power plants is not enough to reach the climate goal of limiting the global temperature increase to two degrees.



​CCS on coal and gas power plants is not enough to reach the climate goal of limiting the global temperature increase to two degrees. A large part of emissions from the world's approx. 2500 large industrial emission points must also be captured, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In Norway, there are quite a number of industrial companies with annual emissions of between 0.5 and 1.5 million tonnes of CO2. Approximately a quarter of Norway's total emissions come from industry. Norcem plans to tackle the climate challenge head on, and is currently investigating the possibility of building a test facility for CO2 capture in Brevik.

This is the first industry project in Norway to receive financial support from Gassnova through the CLIMIT programme. Until now, only projects related to emissions from the generation of power have received such support.

Want more knowledge
"The established belief is that carbon capture is currently too costly a measure for the cement industry. But this is a belief based on assumptions. Before we can say whether CCS is a suitable instrument, we need to know more, and we need to be able to document our point of view. A proactive attitude is what's needed. We must at least be able to say that we've had a proper try," says Per Brevik, director, alternative fuels at HeidelbergCement Northern Europe, Norcem's parent company, and responsible for the project in Brevik.

The goal of the project is to arrive at a decision basis that can lead to acceptance for carrying out an investment in a flexible test facility. The test facility will be able to test up to three technologies at a time.

The volumes that will be captured in connection with testing, will be up to individual technology suppliers. But Norcem has stated as a general basis that each technology will be used to capture 10 000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The plan is for the CO2 captured to initially be released back into the atmosphere ("catch and release"). The partners in this ongoing pilot project are HeidelbergCement, Tel-Tek in Porsgrunn, and the European Cement Research Academy (ECRA).

Agreements imminent

If the ongoing work shows it is technically and financially feasible, a new application will be sent to Gassnova in November 2011. This time for support for building the test facility itself.

Norcem's current project phase (concept and pre-engineering) started in November 2010, and also includes design of the land area, tie-ins and utilities.

"The status of the pilot project about halfway through is that contact has been established with several technology suppliers who may be interested in testing their technology at the facility. We are currently in the final phase of contract discussions with two such technology suppliers, and hope to engage three in total in the next phase," says Brevik.

High CO2 content                                                                                      
The flue gas from the cement factory in Brevik contains up to 20 percent CO2, a much higher percentage than that of flue gas from coal and gas power plants. 60-65 percent of emissions from the cement industry come from the chemical production process (dissociation of limestone), the remainder are emissions from the fuel used.

The Brevik factory's gross emissions of CO2 in 2010 amounted to almost 1 million tonnes. Bearing in mind a lot of biomass is used as alternative fuel, gross emissions were down to 770 000 tonnes, according to Brevik.

"We would like to test and learn as much as possible about how this can be captured to further reduce emissions," says Brevik.

ECRA is very interested

Brevik says that cement research academy ECRA in Düsseldorf has done a lot of theoretical work on CO2 capture.

"HeidelbergCement participates in a number of work groups at ECRA. They liked our idea of investigating the possibility of building test facilities with support from the government body Gassnova. Not least, they appreciated the requirements that the results of tests from this type of government-supported projects must be published," he says.

ECRA financed a feasibility study which was conducted in the spring and summer of 2010. This study resulted in an application being sent to Gassnova. Parallel to this, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy was working to extend Gassnova's mandate to include support for industry, and get this approved by the ESA. Everything went according to plan, and Norcem's application was approved in October 2010. With this, the project was on.

Useful to many
HeidelbergCement, which Norcem is a member of, is Europe's largest manufacturer of cement, represented in 20 countries. At the test facility in Brevik it will be possible to test CO2 capture on different emission combinations where the composition of the emissions (concentration of CO2, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust) varies.

"Emissions from cement manufacture have a lot in common with emissions from power production, especially coal, but there are also differences which are important to test in relation to different technologies for CO2 capture," says Svein Gunnar Bekken, senior advisor at Gassnova.

A wider market

Long-term, the fact basis gained from Brevik will also be available for use by other types of industry. There is a clear need for research on CO2 capture from several different industrial sources.

Bekken refers to the fact that IEA has previously stated that half of all CCS projects in 2020 should be industrial sources if we are to attain the goal of maximum two degrees' global rise in temperature.

"Another important point is that by drawing CO2 capture into the industry, suppliers will see a larger market. This can in turn boost interest in CCS in general," he says.

The extension of the CLIMIT mandate to include emissions from industry can both contribute to the development of technologies which can be used on different industrial sources, and also lead to a more positive market development," Bekken believes.

"CLIMIT will accelerate the commercialisation of CCS-technology. The extension of the mandate and this unique project suit this goal well," he says.

CLIMIT contact: Svein Gunnar Bekken, Gassnova, sgb@gassnova.no


Name: CO2 capture test facility at Norcem's cement plant in Brevik, Norway

In charge of the project: Per Brevik, Norcem AS

Partners: HeidelbergCement, European Cement Research Academy (ECRA), Tel-Tek

Time frame: November 2010-November 2011

Budget: NOK 13.5 million

CLIMIT support: 50 percent


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