In 2006, Statoil and the Norwegian Government, started to plan for a full scale carbon capture at Mongstad. These plans included construction of an combined heat an power plant (CHP) which would supply heat and electricity to Statoil’s oil refinery at Mongstad, and to installations in the North Sea.
The power company BKK also started planning for a gas fueled power plant.
These plans necessitated bringing natural gas on-shore from the North Sea, and 12 inch pipe was laid down from the Troll Gas Field to Mongstad via Kollsnes. The original plans called for a 10 inch pipe, but after pressure to make more natural gas available for use at Mongstad, a 12 inch pipe was chosen instead. The idea behind this was to be able to create more and new commercial activity at Mongstad. The use of natural gas releases CO2, a problamatic gas to release into the atmosphere from a climate perspective. The Norwegian Government, represented through Gassnova decided to get involved in both capturing and storing CO2, also knows as CCS-technology (Carbon Capture Storage)
As part of the deal, the parties agreed to establish a technology centre at Mongstad (TCM). Planning for TCM started in 2007, with constructions starting up in 2008. The facility was designed for capturing up to 100.000 tons of CO2. The captured CO2 from this plant would be released into the atmosphere. It would cost over 6 billion NOK to construct TCM.
CO2 as a resource
Nordhordland Handverk- og Industrilag (NHIL) raised the question, could CO2 captured by TCM be used industrially – as a resource – as a supplement to storage? Several possibilities were thought of, but one early presented itself as viable option:
The seafood industry faces a shortage of omega-3 fatty acids used as fish feed in fish farms. This is increasingly becoming a problem, while the demand for fish continues to increase. The industry will soon face a situation where there isn’t enough omega-3 available to meet the demand, and alternative and sustainable sources of omega-3 are needed to secure future growth in the Norwegian seafood industry.
I 2011 a letter of intent was signed by Nordhordland Handverk- og Industrilag (NHIL) and Technology Center Mongstad (TCM) about the use of up to 30.000 tons of CO2. This resulted in more attention to the project, and the report “CO2 to Bio” contributed to the start up of the company CO2Bio AS in December 2011.
CO2Bio AS is a collaborative effort with the following owners: Bergen Teknologioverføring, (BTO), Nordhordland Handverk- og Industrilag (NHIL), Uni Research, Ewos, Grieg Seafood, Salmon Group, Lerøy Seafood og Marine Harvest.
The purpose of CO2Bio AS is to develop a new and profitable business model based on CO2 already captured at Mongstad. The first milestone is to establish a national pilot plan for the production of omega-3 rich biomass based on algae. This roadstone has been reached. In 2013, CO2Bio AS was awarded the first SPIR-award to be handed out. The award hopes to put focus on commercial concepts that can have a positive effect on the environment.
The building is owned by the University of Bergen. Read more under The algae pilot (NAM).