Technology Centre Mongstad

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European CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) is a carbon capture and storage demonstration project in Norway. The plant was inaugurated on May 7, 2012.[1]

Background

The project is aimed at testing "CO2 capture on two types of flue gases using two capture technologies. One source of emissions is the existing catalytic cracker facility at the Mongstad Refinery and the other is emissions from the gas fired combined heat and power plant (CHP), which is under construction."[2]

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy states that "two technologies will be tested in parallel, amine technology and chilled ammonia technology. The choices of technologies were made by the TCM project on the basis of assessments of the technologies’ potential for improvements, possibilities of implementation as retrofit solutions, possibilities of full-scale application, technical maturity, environmental burden, and the possibilities of capture from sources such as coal, natural gas, and refining."

The project is being undertaken by European CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad DA, comprising the Norwegian government owned Gassnova, StatoilHydro and Norske Shell.[3] In May 2010 the South African company Sasol bought a 2.44 percent share of TCM. In announcing the shareholding, Gassnova stated that Sasol's "point-source emissions of about 60 million t CO2 i per year are among the highest in the world."[4][5]

Setbacks

On its website Statoil states that the test centre "is scheduled to start up in 2011. Stage II comprises a full-scale facility that is capable of capturing carbon dioxide from both the combined heat and power station and other relevant emission sources at the refinery. Plans call for a final decision on the size and type of the full-scale facility to be taken in 2012, and engineering and construction work will start immediately afterwards."[6]

However, in May 2010 the Norwegian government announced that it would delay a decision on further investment on CCS at Mongstad until 2018. In a media statement the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy stated that "full scale capture of CO2 from exhaust-gas has never been carried out before. It is therefore an important premise in the ongoing work to be attentive to the challenges such a pioneer project is facing. The project planning therefore needs to carefully balance project progress, development of technology and cost control."[7]

The Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister, Terje Riis-Johansen, said that "given the big challenges we are facing in making the project good enough on an industrial scale, I don't think it is defensible to plan for an investment decision before 2014." Terje Riis-Johansen told the state broadcaster NRK that "the best evaluations now is that we need another four years after that." [8]

Following the announcement, Marius Holm, from the Bellona Foundation, an industry funded think tank, claimed that the decision was "an environmental policy scandal, the worst one I have seen in my ten years in the Norwegian green policy debate ... It feels like being stabbed in the back," he said.[8]

While the Norwegian government attributed the delay to increased costs, Swedish news reports cited concerns about the environmental and health impacts of CCS plants as the cause. According to Process, the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (Nina), and the University of Oslo's Kjemisk Institute, undertook some modelling work on possible emissions from an amine-based CCS plant for Statoil and Shell. The research has reportedly flagged potentially carcinogenic nitrogen compounds being emitted from the plant.[9][10]<

The Norwegian Institute for Air Research provides little details on the research other than blandly stating that the research project "will contribute to increased knowledge about environmental impacts and benefits of CCS, enabling the development and choice of the most environmentally efficient solutions for CCS and thus contributing to the effectiveness and acceptance of this type of technology as a solution for reduction of climate gas emissions."[11]

An article on the website of the Norwegian gas company, Gassnova, states that the research found that the initial research project considered four amines (MEA, AMP, MDEA and piperazine) used at CO2 capture facilities. Based on a review of existing literature the research concluded that emissions may cause health-related and environmental problems.[12]

Articles and resources

References

  1. Gerald Traufetter, "Massive Carbon-Capture Facility Spawns Skepticism and Hope," Der Spiegel, May 11, 2012.
  2. Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, "European CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM)", Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, June 2009.
  3. "Construction Startup of the European CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) in Norway", Gassnova, June 17, 2009.
  4. "Gassnova, on behalf of the Norwegian State, entered into contract with Sasol on TCM-partnership", Gassnova website, May 3, 2010.
  5. "Sasol's investment in carbon capture faces delays", Business Report, May 11, 2010.
  6. Statoil, "Carbon capture technology in focus at Mongstad", Statoil website, October 20, 2009.
  7. Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, "Full scale CCS Mongstad", Media Release, May 2, 2010.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Norway delays Mongstad Carbon Capture and Storage project", Budpest Business Journal, May 3rd, 2010.
  9. "Utsläppen stoppade koldioxidfångst", Process, May 4, 2010. (A Google Translate version of this article gives the general sense of the original article
  10. "Another Major Blow for Carbon Capture, This Time It Involves the "C" Word", Treehugger, May 5, 2010.
  11. Norwegian Institute for Air Research, "Project: Environmental Decision Support for Innovative EcoDesign", Norwegian Institute for Air Research website, accessed May 2010.
  12. Claude R. Olsen, "Investigating amines", Gassnova website, May 27, 2009.

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