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08 May 2012 04:05:53

World's largest carbon capture facility opens, offering critical test-bed for UK CCS success

London, 8th May 2012: The Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) has officially opened, providing a major opportunity for UK carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologists working to deliver on Government's ambition for a CCS industry worth £6.5 billion by the 2020s.

The newly unveiled, fully functioning carbon capture test facility, the largest of its kind in the world, is a joint venture set up by the Norwegian state, Statoil, Shell and Sasol, at a cost of over £647 million to address the global threat of climate change. After six years of development, today the owners formally invite UK organisations competing in the Government's £1bn CCS competition to use the facilities to test and demonstrate their CCS technologies.

The UK Government has recognised CCS as a critical technology for the decarbonisation of its energy supply. It has set out a CCS roadmap to deliver against the industry’s ambition for the deployment of a 20–30 GW CCS industry, creating more than 100,000 jobs, by 2030. International engagement is a key dynamic of the roadmap, particularly learning from other projects around the world to accelerate cost reduction.

TCM's invitation to the UK has been extended to increase knowledge on carbon capture technologies, in order to reduce technical and financial risk, and accelerate the development of qualified technologies capable of wide scale international deployment. Up to eighty per cent of the costs of CCS are related to CO2 capture, so TCM is encouraging the use of their facilities to refine the capture process and bring costs down.

Tore Amundsen, managing director, Technology Centre Mongstad, said: "Entrants to the UK's £1 billion CCS competition will be judged on their ability to reduce the cost of CCS. Through testing, verification and demonstration of technologies, TCM can help them to reduce both operating and capital expenditures, and improve performance and reliability. We call on all UK CCS developers to join us to share in our experience, and our facilities, so that together we can nurture this critical climate change technology until it is strong enough to stand on its own."

The UK invitation follows an official inauguration ceremony of the centre by Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, in front of prominent guests such as EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger, and Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

Dr Jeff Chapman, chief executive, the Carbon Capture & Storage Association and chair of the UK CCS Taskforce, said: "This is a major contribution from Norway to the worldwide development of CCS. The offer to UK CCS project developers is an exceptional opportunity to optimise plant operation prior to construction and to share knowledge and learning vital to the next wave of CCS projects. I am sure that companies building new plant in the UK will want to avail themselves of this facility."

Shadow Energy Minister, Tom Greatrex MP said: "CCS is an exciting and important technology in the UK's transition to a low carbon economy.
There are opportunities not only to reduce our carbon emissions, but to create jobs and develop skills for the future. The launch of the TCM with its opportunities to develop expertise and share experiences is an important step to helping prove CCS on a commercial scale at the best possible value."

Following a comprehensive evaluation of CCS techniques at the development stage of TCM, two CCS processes were chosen to focus on: a chilled ammonia process from Alstom Energy, and an amine process from Aker Clean Carbon. Both technologies are post-combustion carbon capture, which is a technology group most applicable to the UK's need to retrofit existing carbon intensive plants. Both processes are designed to capture 85–90 % of the CO2 contained in the flue gas from both a refinery cracker and combined heat and power plant on site. The site has the capacity to process 100,000 tonnes of Co2 per year, opening the door for extensive test options and the extrapolation of information needed for eventual full scale implementation of CCS technologies around the world.

Following a period of capture testing, the next step for the Mongstad site will come in 2020 when, following further state investment, Mongstad's oil refinery and power plant will be developed into a full-scale carbon capture and storage plant.

Speaking at the UK CCS roadmap launch, Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: "The potential rewards from carbon capture and storage are immense: a technology that can de-carbonise coal and gas-fired power stations and large industrial emitters, allowing them to play a crucial part in the UK's low carbon future."

About Technology Centre Mongstad
Technology Centre Mongstad is the world’s largest facility for testing and improving CO2 capture. As well as the UK, Technology Centre Mongstad is inviting the global CCS community to make use the testing facilities. Knowledge gained will prepare the ground for CO2 capture initiatives to combat climate change. The size of the centre equates to 9–10 football pitches. The center comprises two CO2 capture plants each with a capacity to capture approximately 80,000 tons of CO2 from the nearby refinery or 20,000 tons from a gas fired power plant. 450 kilometres of cables and kilometres of pipes up to 1.2 metres in diameter have been used. In addition the center has available space and infrastructure to sustain more technologies to be tested in the future. TCM is a joint venture between the Norwegian state, Statoil, Shell and Sasol. Since the Mongstad test centre was first conceived in 2006, by the Norwegian state and Statoil, a myriad of organisations have come together to form a partnership to develop CCS, including Shell, Sasol, Aker Clean Carbon and Alstom.

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