11/11/2021 – Sustainability / Silicon / Elkem / Carbon Capture / Pilot / Norway / Gassnova CLIMIT

Elkem to test world's first carbon capture pilot for smelters
Elkem to test world's first carbon capture pilot for smelters

Elkem – a global leader in silicon-based advanced materials – has announced it will test the world’s first carbon capture pilot for silicon smelters at its plant in Rana, Norway. 

The project has received financial support from Gassnova CLIMIT and is a follow-up to the company’s recently launched climate roadmap to reduce emissions towards net zero while growing supplies to support the green transition.

Carbon capture collaboration

The carbon capture pilot is a collaboration between Elkem and Mo Industripark, SINTEF, Alcoa, Celsa, Ferroglobe, SMA Mineral, Norcem, Norfrakalk, Arctic Cluster Team and Aker Carbon Capture. 

The test unit will be installed at Elkem’s plant in Rana, which produces high-purity ferrosilicon and Microsilica. In addition, emissions from SMA Mineral will also gradually enter the treatment plant. Aker Carbon Capture will deliver the test unit, which is the only one of its kind in Norway.

The project is supported through the CLIMIT-Demo programme, by state enterprise Gassnova SF. CLIMIT is Norway’s national two-year programme for research, development and demonstration of CO2 capture and storage technology. The main goal of the project is to verify the technology on real industrial exhaust gases from smelters, in order to prepare a full-scale plant for industrial carbon capture.

Supporting the green transition

“Elkem aims to be part of the solution to combat climate change – and to be one of the winners in the green transition,” asserted Helge Aasen, CEO of Oslo Stock Exchange listed Elkem. “Our mission is to provide advanced material solutions shaping a better and more sustainable future. We have recently launched a climate roadmap detailing our ambitions to reduce emissions while growing our supplies to the green transition,” he revealed, adding: “Carbon capture is a key technology to reach net zero by 2050.”

Elkem’s recently launched global climate roadmap details how the company plans to reduce its total CO2 emissions by 28 per cent from 2020-31 while growing its supplies to the green transition, thereby delivering 39 per cent improvement of its product carbon footprint in the same period.

Towards carbon-neutral materials production

As a part of this work towards carbon-neutral materials production, Elkem has conducted a feasibility study for the establishment of carbon capture and storage (CCS). The purpose of the study has been to assess the technical and economic feasibility of installing carbon capture at its Norwegian plants in Bjølvefossen, Bremanger, Rana, Salten and Thamshavn. 

“The test unit installation at Elkem Rana means that we are now moving one step forward,” enthused Trond Sæterstad, Elkem’s Climate Director. “The work to be done in Rana will also be of great relevance to other plants both in Elkem and for other players in the industry,” he noted.

Mo Industrial Park will be the project owner and SINTEF will have a leading role as project management of the programme.

1.5 million tonnes of potential CO2 capture identified

“In total, the partners have identified 1.5 million tonnes of potential CO2 capture in the region. This corresponds to three per cent of Norway's total emissions, and almost one-third of the emissions from the metal industry,” informed Jack Ødegård, Vice President of Research at SINTEF. 

Ingrid Sørum Melaaen, Gassnovas´ Head of Secretariat CLIMIT, emphasised the high relevance for his organisation to support the world’s first CO2-capture from ferrosilicon and silicon industry. “In this project, there are nine international industries collaborating in development of cost-effective CCS solutions. Important research work will be carried out by SINTEF as well. Knowledge from development of the full scale CCS project Longship is also applicable for this Elkem pilot,” she advised.

Creating jobs, ensuring competitiveness

“The mobile test unit is for all practical purposes a large facility in miniature. It is very exciting that we can now follow up the feasibility study and test that the technology is also suitable for large-scale smelters,” remarked Jon Christopher Knudsen, Chief Commercial Officer in Aker Carbon Capture.

Meanwhile, Jan Gabor, Executive – Vice President of Property Development at Mo Industrial Park – stressed the necessity to cut carbon emissions. “In addition, this project will create new jobs and ensure the competitiveness of the industry,” he advised. “This is also aligned with Mo Industrial Park’s sustainability strategy and the initiative will add important cutting-edge expertise to the region.” 

The project has a total budget of NOK 23.6 million (US$2.83m), of which Gassnova CLIMIT will contribute 13.8 million (US$1.65m) and the industry will contribute with the remaining amount.

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