Aker, Aker Kvaerner Begin Self-funded CO2 Project

Aker and Aker Kvaerner have decided to start a pre-study of a pilot facility for CO2 capture at the power plant at Karsto, Norway.

The companies are doing this at their own initiative and at their own expense. Aker and Aker Kvaerner consider this a time-saving tactic for delivering effective solutions for the capture of all CO2 emissions from the gas power plant at Karsto. According to Aker Kvaerner, this is an important step in continuing work that needs to be done to solve long-term global environmental changes.

The facility is based on Aker Kvaerner's Just Catch technology, which is considered to be a world-leading concept for CO2 capture. In addition, the possibility for establishing a bio energy facility is included in the plan. A bio-energy facility increases the degree of carbon dioxide capture from gas power plant from 85 to 116 percent. This means that not only can the plant capture carbon emissions from the gas power plant, but it can also remove CO2 from the bio facility. Carbon emissions from bio facilities are considered environmentally neutral. By capturing CO2 in the bio power facility, the CO2 from the biological circulation is also captured. In reality, this means that the CO2 is removed from the air (air purification).

A modern gas power plant burns gas to make a gas turbine work and to turn water into steam, thereby powering the steam engine (dual power). Both engines produce electricity. Traditional solutions for facilities, which capture carbon dioxide from gas power plant (ref report from the Norwegian government agency NVE), some of the steam is lost in order to "cook" and afterwards gather the CO2 from the amino solutions (fluid) in the capturing facility. This disadvantage leads to considerably less steam for electricity production in the gas power plant. For the Karsto plant, it has been calculated that power production would be reduced from 420 to 384 MW without the bio energy facility.

To connect to a steam facility based on bio energy, for example sawdust and chips from the forest industry, steam from the gas power plant is not required. The gas power plant is not affected by the capturing plant. In addition, the total degree of carbon capture from the gas power plant can exceed 100 percent. Aker Kvaerner has already developed and applied for patents for the solutions, which will increase the effective degree of carbon dioxide capture from 85 to 116 percent. This means that for the Karsto plant, 36 percent more CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere than by any other capturing facility of the same type.

The budget for the pre-engineering is estimated to be NOK 24 million. If politicians decide to build it, the pilot facility proposed under the project could be ready at Karsto as soon as 2009. The capturing facility will be scaled to capture 100 000 tonnes of CO2 per year already in the pilot phase. At the same time as the pilot plant is being built, the necessary infrastructure will be manufactured. It will include piping and wells for transport and permanent storage of carbon in geological structures. This infrastructure is scaled for later full scale cleaning, when time is not critical.

NVE, on behalf of the Norwegian government, has looked into the possibility of having a full scale capturing plant at Karsto. They have established implementation plans and given current cost estimates for the facility. Such a cleansing facility will be considerably bigger than any other of its type in the world today. Aker and Aker Kvaerner believe that full capture and environmental results will be best, if time can be used for testing and demonstration at a pilot facility first. Aker and Aker Kvaerner have put together a concrete program to use the pilot facility and to carry out several tests. With regard to time schedules and processes for the coming full-scale facilities, Aker and Aker Kvaerner will follow the process decided by the Norwegian politicians.

Aker Kvaerner has had the amino-based carbon capture technology since 1991. This technology can be added to an existing power plant and defined as "post combustion." If something is to be done to influence global environmental emissions on a large scale, then also emissions from existing fossil power plants have to be captured. It will not be sufficient only to install capture technology at new facilities.

The last steps in the development of CO2 capture technology, called Just Catch, took place between 2005 and 2007 in cooperation with 14 partners. Amongst them, are the leading energy companies in Norway as well as the state-owned Gassnova.