We test technologies
Testing at TCM
Technology Center Mongstad (TCM) offers the world´s most advanced and flexible test arena for CO2 capture technologies.
Private companies from all over the world come to TCM to test and develop efficient and safe technologies which can be used at onshore industrial plants. In addition, scientific technology testing is conducted at TCM, serving as a benchmark for commercial technologies.
The combination of commercial and scientific technology makes us a leading competence center within carbon capture. We have achieved excellent test results for our business partners, based on trust and confidentiality.
TCM’s CO2 capture facilities consists of an amine plant and an ammonia unit in addition to a module site for emerging technologies (under development). We have two live industrial flue gas sources; Equinor’s Residue cracker at their refinery on Mongstad (13 % CO2), and its associated combined heat and gas power plant (3,5 % CO2), which will be revamped for heat generation and some electricity in early 2020. The different flue gas sources enable us to mimic emission gases similar to those from industries such as waste incineration and oil refining. TCM operates under an emission permit from the Norwegian authorities, ensuring safe and measurable results in every aspect of our operation.
In all of our technology testing, we are able to capture a significant proportion of the CO2. Therefore, the main focus is reduction of capture costs and environmental and technical risks, so that mass deployment of CO2 capture becomes affordable and plausible.
Ismail Shah Muhammed, Advisor Environment & Process Technology, tells us about testing activities at TCM.
Private companies testing at TCM
Since the operational startup in 2012, Aker Solutions (Norway), Alstom SA (France), Cansolv Technologies Inc (Canada), Carbon Clean Solutions (UK/India), ION Engineering (USA) and Fluor Corporation (USA) have tested their technologies at TCM. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering (MHIENG) will test its techonology in 2021. It is vital for TCM that private companies trust us in handling their proprietary technologies. We have comprehensive systems and routines for safe management of confidential information.
The private companies which come to TCM, usually receive funding support from governmental entities in their home countries. For instance, The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded approx. USD 40 million to six American companies to come to TCM for advanced carbon capture technology testing. Both ION Clean Energy and Fluor Corporation, a global engineering and construction company, have conducted testing at our facility, and correspondenly InnoSepra LLC and The research foundation RTI shall perform tests. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is managing all these projects on behalf of the US energy department.
Scientific testing and research at TCM
The combined experiences from testing of recognized research-based and leading commercial technologies, has made TCM a global leading competence center in CO2 capture. Our policy is to share knowledge and experience from research activities to benefit the entire carbon capture and storage community through publications in reputed scientific journals and presentation at conferences on scientific technology test results.
Our research-based technology testing has been conducted with the openly available carbon capture liquid (solvent) called Mono Ethanol Amine (MEA). TCM has been able to capture up to 98 % of CO2 emissions with aqueous MEA (a blend of water and MEA), and to simulate a reduction of capture costs by nearly 14 % over several test periods (campaigns) under specific conditions. In 2019, TCM is testing a new open access capture liquid called CESAR 1 as part of the extensive EU-funded carbon capture and storage project ALIGN CCUS. Furthermore, TCM is offered EU-funding for future testing, with cutting-edge adsorbent solid materials, in the MOF4AIR project.
The scientific testing of capture technologies at TCM has resulted in over 35 scientific publications. Research related to testing at TCM has been presented in a number of scientifically recognized arenas, such as The Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT), NETL Annual capture meeting, Trondheim Conference on CO2 Capture, Transport and Storage (TCCS), Post Combustion Carbon Capture (PCCC) and CCUS (Carbon capture, utilization and storage). TCM’s scientific contribution includes a much-needed focus on adressing the practical operation of an almost full-scale carbon capture plant.
TCM collaborates with several universities and research institutions, among others SINTEF, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), , Imperial College London (ICL), University of Oslo (UiO), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the University of Texas at Austin, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT),the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), and University of Bergen (UiB).
The technology department at TCM is open to inquiries that can contribute to increased knowledge on carbon capture.
Multiple test units for different technologies
TCM currently has two test units. The amine plant is a unit with generic capabilities developed by Aker Clean Carbon, now part of Aker Solutions. The unit has been utilized by five private companies in addition to scientific testing on the capture liquids MEA and CESAR 1. TCM also has a chilled ammonia unit, developed and licensed by former Alstom, now Baker Hughes (a GE company). Both these units capture CO2 by the means of a chemical liquid mix called solvent, consisting of water and either amine- or ammonia-based solutions.
In addition, TCM in 2020 established a new test site for emerging technologies. «Site for Emerging Technoligies» is used to test novel technologies such as membranes or absorbents (solid materials binding with CO2). These emerging technologies are at a lower technology maturity level and creates new opportunities for technology development. TDA Research is the first user of TCM’s new module-based unit for testing new capture technologies and is succeeded by Membrane Technology and Research (MTR) and InnoSepra.
How to get access to test at TCM
The prerequisite for a collaboration in a commercial context, is that the technology must be sufficiently mature (technology readiness level approx. 7 – 8 based on NASA’s definition). TCM holds an emission permit from the Norwegian Environmental authorities. Another prerequisite is to verify that the technology can perform within the limits set in the emission permit. After testing at TCM, the technology should in principle be ready for use in full-scale industrial plants.
Our business development department assists technology companies with information and advice about testing at our facility. We also take part in dialogue with governmental funding entities (ex. NETL, BEIS) and developers of carbon capture projects.
The test campaigns at the plant have generated valuable lessons learned for both TCMs owners, the technology vendors, the institutions and organizations involved and the whole CCS community.
The companies involved report valuable lessons learned about how their respective capture solutions work in a large-scale facility, and how to minimize emissions, energy demand and costs. Typically, the technology providers share as little information as possible about their test campaigns. The vendors newfound knowledge is regarded as trade secrets.
However, the non proprietary campaigns has revealed a whole new insight into important improvements in generic capture technologies. This has benefited of the whole CCS community.
Test campaigns carried out at TCM have been conducted in broad collaboration with key CCS players.
Experiments are designed and executed with industrial partners representing various industries; electricity generation, municipal waste incinerators, oil and gas industry, steel manufacturing, etc., to support their CCS projects and their goals in reducing their CO2.
Experiments are designed and executed in collaboration with research institutes, e.g. SINTEF, and universities in order to overcome potential technical and operational challenges when operating large commercial CO2 capture plants
This means that the results are of great importance in the CCS professional world and for future industries that will use CCS. At TCM, they get a clearer picture of what it takes to run an efficient CCS plant. As more countries see the importance of carbon capture and storage, the experience they gain from almost full-scale testing at TCM is becoming increasingly important. For us, it is important to share knowledge from the open tests with researchers and academic communities around the world.
TCM’s unique test facilities, high competence and strong commitment to efficient capture, make an important contribution to solving the global climate challenges.
Here you can download the scientific articles from the MEA campaigns at TCM:
The owners intention
«We see an increasing interest for testing at TCM, and we are very pleased that we can continue our important work with testing and research necessary for the deployment of large-scale carbon capture.»
«TCM is a cornerstone in TOTAL’s strategy to tackle climate change by accelerating the development and adoption of innovative CO2 capture technologies.»
«TCM plays a key role in further developing and reducing the cost of CCS – a crucial technology to help society and economies thrive through the energy transition.»
«TCM has contributed to maturing the carbon capture supplier market and will remain relevant with the increasing number of technology suppliers lining up for testing.»