CCS: This is how Norway will save the world through carbon capture

CCS: This is how Norway will save the world through carbon capture

The clock is ticking for the world.

The last time Norway tried this, it failed.

Now a new attempt is being made.

At Hydro on Karmøy, they are on the front line:

– Landing on the moon was easy compared to what we will do here.

Plant manager Arne-Martin Kjærland served coffee and water at the conference table.

He points to the prestigious project where carbon capture and storage (CCS) was attempted in Mongstad, on which the government spent nearly NOK 10 billion.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at the time referred to it as Norway landing on the moon.

But that all came crashing down in 2013, and we never got to the moon.

The entire project was referred to as a failure.

Climate negotiations are currently underway in Dubai (COP28). Here, Norway will once again fight to ensure that capturing this gas becomes absolutely essential in the fight against human-induced climate change.

Norwegian authorities believe climate goals will be almost impossible to achieve if the technology does not work on a large scale.

But many environmental organizations and Western countries are skeptical.

They fear that this will become an excuse to continue extracting fossil energy.

One of the key projects of the Norwegian authorities is to build the necessary infrastructure to store carbon dioxide. The collected gas will be liquefied before being pumped to old oil wells in the North Sea.

The country is now betting about 20 billion Norwegian kroner on the so-called project Long ship.

But before the gas can be pumped back into the ground, it must be captured. This is where companies like Hydro come into play.

– I am convinced that we will succeed. Hydro president Kjærland says this is a paradigm shift.

They say Hydro’s aluminum actually has a lower carbon footprint compared to other manufacturers. But they have to keep going down.

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The goal is to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, also known as net zero.

The company produces aluminum for important industries around the world, such as the automobile industry.

Having a low carbon footprint on products is becoming increasingly important. Paris AgreementParis AgreementAn international agreement concluded in 2015 to limit global warming. More clear requirements have been established for producers.

– I am happy with the Paris Agreement. A lot of people think it’s too demanding, but without it our customers wouldn’t come and ask for it.

Were the authorities’ requirements strict enough and early enough?

-If you saw the world today, you could say no.

Forest fires have accelerated in countries such as Greece as a result of climate change.  Here from 2023.

According to the Norwegian Environment Agency, carbon capture technology is ready for implementation in dealing with extreme climate phenomena such as waste burning and cement production.

But for downstream industries like Hydro, the last small piece of the puzzle still remains, before the code can be said to be cracked.

What is referred to as unproven and immature technology is soon ready to be cooked.

This is how the government envisions carbon capture and storage infrastructure to look like:

Hydro Aluminum in Karmøy released 474,016 tons of CO2 equivalents CO2 equivalents A unit of measurement used to compare emissions of different greenhouse gases based on their global warming potential.Last year, numbers from Norwegian Environment Agency. This makes it one of the giants of Norwegian industry that emits the most harmful greenhouse gases.

In some operations, they can reduce greenhouse gases emitted, but Hydro is also working on being able to capture carbon gas before it reaches the atmosphere.

The technology needed by Hydro on Karmøy does not yet exist.

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But they have already begun converting parts of the production facility to be ready for the technology when it arrives.

The hope is that we will be able to produce aluminum without escaping harmful gases.

When aluminum is manufactured today in Karmoy, only a small percentage of the air emitted is carbon dioxide. This makes it more difficult to catch gases.

-We have a concentration of 1% carbon dioxide in the exhaust gas. So 99 percent is not carbon dioxide. When your concentration is low, it becomes more difficult to capture carbon dioxide, says group leader at Hydro, Anders Lilibe (43).

To make the technological shift, they are now adapting existing blast furnaces, called cells, to capture carbon dioxide.

This is how they would do it:

-It’s a very exciting technological time. It is, after all, a remarkable paradigm shift in our industry. There are great challenges, but there are also great opportunities, says Lillyby.

The whole point of carbon capture and storage is to be able to continue using the same industrial facilities as before.

Because both Norway and the European Union have stated that they will be a low-emission society by 2050.

For some industries in the world, such as cement production and waste incineration, CCS may be one of the only ways to continue as before without a complete restructuring of facilities.

While fossil energy, such as oil and gas, is burned, it may be possible to replace it with green energy.

When the Norwegian Environment Agency recently presented a plan on how to reduce Norway’s national emissions by 60 percent, carbon capture and storage is crucial.

Meanwhile, Norwegian politicians are working at full speed to include carbon capture and storage as an exception in the UN agreement when fossil energy is phased out.

And now, during the climate negotiations in Dubai, there is also a large delegation from the business world participating, most of them people who work in carbon capture.

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The EU and Norway are now likely to phase out fossil energy, but there is an exception for carbon dioxide that is captured and stored.

But within the European Union there is a dispute.

At the UN General Assembly in September, 17 countries, including Denmark, France and Spain, signed a statement warning against the use of carbon capture and storage.

Norway did not sign.

To E24, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Sture said this this week Carbon capture and storage It will be important in Norway’s negotiations leading up to the COP meeting.

Støre is working to sustain renewable energy in 2022.

Anya Bakken Riis, head of the environmental organization Fremtiden i våre Hands, believes carbon capture and storage will be one of many important tools for Norway.

– Over the next 20 years, we will rely entirely on technologies that not only reduce emissions, but simply remove emissions from the air. Hence carbon capture and storage is necessary to keep us below 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s why it’s important and good for Norway to invest in carbon capture and storage, says Reis.

At the same time, she believes it is equally important that there is a continued focus on reducing overconsumption and climate policy linked to the way we live.

Carbon capture and storage should not be a substitute for climate action or an impediment to fundamental societal changes.

It continues:

– The first priority should always be measures that reduce demand and reduce emissions, and then we can use carbon capture and storage for emissions that we can do nothing about.

Huldra unmanned platform in the North Sea

Reis also fears negative consequences, such as the fact that it could help extend the life of the oil, coal and gas industry.

– More than 90% of emissions from oil occur when burning oil. These are emissions that the global carbon budget cannot accommodate.

Note: Are you wondering how the Norwegian Environment Agency thinks we can achieve climate goals? Check out VG’s overview here:


Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

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