In the industrial and mining sector Norcem’s cement production plant in Brevik could be about to break new ground with the introduction of full-scale carbon capture.
According to Statistics Norway, total emissions of climate gases in Norway were 52.7 million tonnes in 2017, slightly higher than the figure of 51.2 million tonnes recorded in 1990. One of the industrial sectors that actually succeeded in reducing emissions during this time is industry and mining. Between 1990 and 2017, this sector managed to bring down emissions by 39 per cent, from 19.7 million tonnes to 12.1 million tonnes and now accounts for 23 per cent of overall emissions. Cement production is undoubtedly one of the success stories. At Norcem (Heidelberg Cement) in Brevik all the preparations are in place for a milestone event: the construction of a carbon capture plant that will capture half of the current levels of CO2 emissions.
Only carbon capture will make a real difference
Heidelberg Cement R&D Director Kjell Skjeggerud is eager to get started on the construction of the full-scale carbon capture facility at Norcem’s Brevik plant.
“The realisation of a full-scale plant is now closer than ever. Following extensive testing we have decided on the technological solution that we need and we want to get started on construction as soon as possible,” says Kjell Skjeggerud. His words are supported by Heidelberg Cement’s Head of Sustainability Liv-Margrethe Bjerg, who tells us that earlier this year they completed a concept study with cost estimates. If everything goes as they hope in next year’s budgeting process, the Norwegian Storting could make a final decision in the spring of 2020/2021. This would allow construction to commence in 2020/2021 and for the capture plant to start operating in 2023/2024.
Solution for heavy point source discharges
Why is cement such a major problem that it accounts for no less than 4-5 per cent of total worldwide CO2 emissions? The answer is that cement is the main component of concrete, one of the world’s most widely-used construction materials, found everywhere – in buildings, bridges, roads, tunnels, pipelines and dams.
With CO2 discharges totalling 800 000 tons, Norcem’s cement plant in Brevik is responsible for the 10th highest individual emission in Norway. With this ground-breaking project Norcem now has a unique opportunity to capture carbon. If they succeed, they will capture 400 000 tons of CO2 a year, in other words half of current emissions, equivalent to the CO2 emissions of 180 000 cars every year.