Focus on energy-efficient capture
SINTEF and NTNU are leaders in the EU research programmes for the next generation of CO2 capture.
Both energy and materials scientists are involved - and they have the same goals as colleagues worldwide: making CO2 capture cheaper and less energy intensive.
Preventing unnecessary high coal consumption
SINTEF’s Jens Hetland knows China's energy sector well. The following calculation demonstrates why it is vital for the Chinese to achieve more energy-efficient industrial facilities.
- Should the Chinese use treatment technology from the first demonstration plants in the coming decades; in 2050 they would have had to combust an extra billion tonnes of coal a year just to compensate for the this treatment, says Hetland, and adds:
Extra coal consumption = significant additional costs
- Additional coal consumption of such dimensions would result in an extra annual cost that roughly corresponds to the package that was necessary to rescue Wall Street in the US during the financial crisis in 2008. This is hardly acceptable for China's economic development.
No worry about lingering Nobel problems
- Do you think that the problems following the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 will cause problems for Sino-Norwegian cooperation on technology for CO2 capture?
- China has decided to allocate huge resources to develop long-term prosperity. As an energy researcher, I have been on numerous visits there and have gained insights into a culture that is thousands of years old. Respect and honor is at a premium along with peace and harmony.
- My impression is that China is focusing heavily on knowledge, and I think the country is more focused on technology than we are in the West. The whole world is searching for methods that can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Therefore, I strongly believe that the Peace Prize award will not have a negative impact on the firm foundation Norwegian and Chinese researchers have now established. This is far too important. It is for the future of our children and grandchildren - in Norway as well as in China.
Adviser in China
Jens Hetland is a SINTEF researcher with intimate knowledge of Chinese investment in CO2 capture and storage.
On behalf of the Asian Development Bank's Jens Hetland is one of three foreign advisers who, together with the Chinese government, will consider the next important step in China's investment in CO2 capture: the construction of the first integrated coal power plant that will be built from "scratch" with an integrated full-scale demonstration plant for CO2 capture.
The technology used here is based on coal as feedstock. But the coal is gasified and converted by steam to hydrogen and is used as fuel for power generation.
- China will account for a large part of the growth in global energy demand in the future. At the same time, the country's low cost level is a great advantage in terms of the building plants for CO2 capture. In Norway, the test plant at Mongstad will cost around NOK 6.5 billion, including sales tax. It corresponds to the cost of the Lillehammer Olympics. In China, you can build 50 test plants with the same size for that amount, says SINTEF’s Jens Hetland.
Jens Hetland of SINTEF Energy Research at one of China's many modern coal power plants.