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Norway leads on carbon capture with fresh funding

Jillian Ambrose
The Norwegian government has taken the lead in tackling the technology challenge by selecting two sites  - Copyright (c) 2008 Rex Features. No use without permission.

The Norwegian government has revived plans to develop technology which can capture and store carbon emissions from factory flues with a pledge to invest almost €30m (£26m) in a pair of new demonstration projects.

The funding could lay the groundwork for a Europe-wide boom in carbon capture and storage (CCS) which will require strong international co-operation to bring costs down.

The vote of confidence also bodes well for the UK which reignited plans to develop CCS last year after clean energy minister Claire Perry said carbon capture is a “vital technology”, which should be deployed “at an appropriate cost”.

UK CCS developers are already understood to be in talks with Norway’s CCS experts.

Luke Warren, chief executive of the UK’s CCS association, said the Norwegian funding pledge is “globally significant” because both projects “would represent world-first low-carbon industrial projects”.

The UK’s own CCS blueprint is expected by the end of the year, and industrial clusters in Teesside, Merseyside, South Wales and Grangemouth are all hoping to safeguard their future in the UK’s future low-carbon economy by fitting the new technology.

A full-scale CCS value-chain - C02 storage

“We must ensure that this pathway delivers a strong new approach to CCS that places the UK alongside Norway as a global leader in this vital technology and makes full use of the UK’s expertise and strategic CO2 storage assets,” Mr Warren added.

The Norwegian government has taken the lead in tackling the technology challenge by selecting two sites – a cement factory and a waste energy plant – to test a full-scale carbon capture system which could rid the whole of Europe of its unwanted carbon emissions within the next five years.

The Norwegians plan to trap harmful carbon emissions at source, before piping the CO2 into permanent storage facilities under the seabed. Norway’s vast North Sea salt caverns could provide a major source of revenue from countries across Europe if they choose to store their carbon there.

The funding announcement is a major turnaround from the deep funding cuts proposed by the Norwegian government late last year, which cast doubt on the burgeoning technology only days after UK ambitions were reignited.