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Research to blaze the trail for “green” gas power

Together with Norwegian and overseas industrial interests, the Research Council of Norway and Gassnova are investing millions of kroner in a new research programme on gas power with CO2 treatment. These efforts make it more likely that Norway will build power stations of this sort in the future, according to Nils A. Røkke of SINTEF Energy Research.

CO2 can be "washed" out of exhaust fumes by means of aqueous amines – compounds formed from ammonium molecules. This is SINTEF's test rig for absorption of CO2 in amine solutions.   
Photo: Thor Nielsen/SINTEF

The programme has been given the name of BIGCO2. Most of the research involved will be done by SINTEF and NTNU, which have set up a joint gas technology centre.The Cicero Centre for Climate Research and the University of Oslo are also taking part.

NOK 14 million has been allocated to BIGCO2 this year, and 12.5 MNOK has been set aside for next year. The programme is scheduled to run for a further three years.

Norwegian deliveries
“The programme has two aims: first, to build up the competence that will increase the likelihood of CO2-free gas-fuelled power stations being built in Norway. Participants will also obtain added value from the programme because it will put them in a position to supply products and processes to utilities of this sort”, says project manager Nils A. Røkke of SINTEF Energy Research.

The research programme covers the whole spectrum of activities from CO2 capture in the power station itself to storage of the captured greenhouse gas in geological strata on the continental shelf.

Industrial interest
Funding from the Research Council of Norway has enabled SINTEF and NTNU to develop expertise in this field during the past four years. The programme will be launched as a continuation of these efforts.

Six industrial companies have joined the programme on the financial side together with the Research Council and Gassnova (the Climit programme). The industrial participants are Statoil, Hydro, Store Norske Spitsbergen Grubekompani, Statkraft Development, Aker Kværner and General Electric Global Research.

High priority
Norway was one of the pioneers in research on gas power with CO2 treatment. The first reports appeared in 1987, when this field of research was regarded as a Norwegian curiosity.

Today, everyone is singing a different song. The EU has said that Europe must have emission-free fossil-fuel power stations in operation by 2012 - 2015.


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By Svein Tønseth