Top image: The Longyearbyen CO2 lab in Adventdalen. Photo: Alvar Braathen/UNIS.
The SUbsurface CO2 Storage – Critical Elements and Superior Strategy (SUCCESS) centre opened yesterday. UNIS and the Longyearbyen CO2 lab is a partner in this centre. – The CO2 lab’s part in this centre is a vital part to create a mutual meeting place for theoretical research and practical exercises, says UNIS professor Alvar Braathen.
9 April 2010
Text: Eva Therese Jenssen / UNIS
Climate change is one of the – if not the most – important challenge in this century. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a key element in order to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and as long as the world will continue to rely on fossil fuels in the next few decades, major research efforts have been undertaken to develop and deploy CCS technology. Carbon capture has received a lot of interest, but less attention has been given to the storage part.
The SUCCESS centre aims at hugely increase our understanding of CO2 subsurface behavior. The centre addresses several important areas for CO2 storage in the subsurface; storage performance, sealing properties, injection, monitoring and consequences for the marine environment.
UNIS heads “CO2-School”
The Longyearbyen CO2 lab plays a key role in the centre’s scope. – The CO2 lab will function as a meeting ground where theoretical research and practical exercises are combined, explains Alvar Braathen, UNIS professor in geology.
In addition to the Longyearbyen CO2 lab, UNIS is in charge of the “CO2-School” which is a new educational program within the SUCCESS centre.
– The CO2-School are comprised of university courses at the master level which will give students interested in specializing in CCS a satisfactory academic offer, says Braathen.
The courses will be given at different academic institutions, and students can “shop” around for courses both at mainland Norway and at UNIS.
– UNIS offers a course in Arctic Seismic Exploration (AG-335); and we will introduce a new course soon focusing on CCS, says Braathen.
This new course will be a 5 ECTS interdisciplinary course, which will give students a broad introduction to and hands-on experience in relevant CCS topics; from the coal production in the mines to coal burning in the power station, with the potential for CO2 capture, and to subsurface storage.
A hub for CCS research
UNIS is becoming a hub for CO2 research partners. In March UNIS hosted two workshops in Longyearbyen addressing the CO2 lab summer injection program and the prospects of carbon capture at the local power plant.
The overall goal of the CO2 lab summer program is to determine the storage capacity of the reservoir. That means injecting large quantities of water over a period of 2-3 weeks. Tracers will be added to the water so that the migration can be tracked. The tentative start up date is August 1st.
The Longyearbyen power plant has produced electricity and heating for 25 years and is soon ready for a comprehensive upgrading. This will be the right time to introduce carbon capture as well. The coal fuelled power plant in Longyearbyen burns 25.000 tons of coal and emits ca. 85.000 tons of CO2 a year, which provides for a nice pilot size capture facility. Post combustion, amine based capture technologies seem to be the most likely way of approaching the task.
The centre is one of eight Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research (CEER), which is partly funded by the Research Council of Norway and is receiving up to NOK 20 million per year from the Research Council and industry partners over a five-year period.
The research partners behind the centre are: Christian Michelsen Research AS (CMR, host), Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), UNI research AS (CIPR), and the universities of Bergen and Oslo, together with UNIS.