CO2 hunters look to China
China that has taken the lead in the development of the first generation of plants for CO2 capture. A Sino-Norwegian team has been set up to find the next generation of such plants.
Recently the Research Council of Norway allocated NOK 5.9 million to build-up Norwegian-Chinese research networks in climate and environmental technology.
This includes NOK 1 million for the establishment of alliances between research institutes and university groups that are conducting research in carbon capture and the storage of CO2.
Strong research groups
- We have the strongest Chinese research groups with us, says SINTEF’s Jens Hetland, who is an expert on CO2 capture. SINTEF will coordinate two of the three Norwegian-Chinese networks in CO2 management.
Part of the Chinese team with SINTEF is Tsinghua University, the leading Chinese university of technology.
- Initially, we will define the focus of the main research projects that both countries are interested in starting up. Then we will prepare project proposals and ensure that they will be designed to attract industrial partners. Both Norwegian industry and research institutes will therefore have a golden opportunity find a position in the expanding Chinese market for CO2 capture, says Hetland.
While full-scale CO2 capture is a slow process in Norway, the Chinese have been quick to get off the mark and already have nine test plants in operation. The largest of them is the same size as the test centre which is now under construction at Mongstad, in western Norway.
Currently, the Chinese are building three large-scale treatment plants for gas processing in coal power plants. These three facilities will individually take care of as much CO2 as the planned full-scale plant at Mongstad – that means one million tonnes a year.
Next generation of capture
According to Hetland the Chinese say that they are impressed by the fundamental physical knowledge and numerical models built up in the Norwegian research community in energy systems and CO2 capture.
- The development of the next generation of capture is about finding solutions that use much less energy than the first generation plants. Here good physical knowledge and numerical models are alpha and omega in the effort to achieve such solutions, says this SINTEF researcher.
He has had numerous project trips to China and knows the energy sector in the country like the back of his hand.
- The Chinese are keen to achieve energy efficient CO2 capture due to their environmental challenges at home and see opportunities in the export of CO2 capture and storage technology to the rest of the world, says Jens Hetland.
See article on Focus on energy-efficient capture