Seafood is Norway’s second largest export, after oil & gas: in 2013 the value of Norwegian seafood exports stood at $10.2 billion, with 95% of all fishing produce shipped to 150 different countries. Demand for farmed fish is growing, but the aquaculture industry is facing a shortage of omega-3; the fatty acids used in fish feed.
At current rates available omega-3 will reduced in the coming years. To ensure the continued growth of Norwegian aquaculture, the industry is seeking alternative, sustainable sources of omega-3 that can be used in fish feed.
The aim of the pilot is to establish a manufacturing facility that can produce omega-3 and other high-value products from algal biomass, using pure CO2 captured at TCM and residual heat from the TCM plant. Marine algae is the foundation of all omega-3 in the ocean, and the project will demonstrate that it can be effectively produced on land by photosynthesis using pure CO2 from TCM and sunlight.
Frank Ellingsen, Managing Director, TCM, said:
“Carbon is becoming increasingly constrained in the global economy, whilst food demand from farmed fish is rising. It seems to be a smart solution to combine the two issues; using CO2, the by-product of the oil & gas sector, as a raw material for aquaculture. This project demonstrates the ongoing importance of TCM: as well as operating at the forefront of CO2 capture technology, we also play a role in the utilisation of CO2 for innovative new “circular economy” business models.
The test production of omega-3 rich raw material for fish feed from algae will start at Mongstad as early as next year, providing a sustainable solution to an environmental problem and a proactive alternative to the passive deposition of CO2.
Svein M Nordvik, Managing Director, CO2BIO, said:
“Undertaking advanced marine microalgae production on the doorstep of the world's largest single market for feed is important for long-term growth of the Norwegian aquaculture industry and for enhanced sustainability of marine raw materials. It’s inspiring to think that this project could create a virtuous circle; by addressing the growth in global population, as well as putting carbon emissions to good use.”
Construction of the 300-square-metre algae production test facility is scheduled for completion within an allocated space at Mongstad in early 2015. Once operational, a five-year research programme will be undertaken with a view to establishing a commercial plant for the production of marine algae once testing is complete.
CO2Bio is an innovation network of stakeholders from industry and research communities. The University of Bergen will be the owner of algae pilot, together with Uni Research and will play a very important role as the driving force in the establishment and coordination of the operation of the plant. CO2Bio will be responsible for operations. Co-owners of CO2Bio include:
• Salmon Group
• Grieg Seafood
In addition to the US$1 million that has been allocated as part of Norway’s revised state budget, CO2Bio has previously been granted:
• US$330 000 from Hordaland County Council
• US$500 000 from Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF)
• US$167 000 from municipalities near Bergen
The project will help to bridge the gap between R&D and industry, with a purpose to facilitate innovation as well as industrial and regional development.
Alongside the CO2BIO Project, TCM is continuing its testing of CO2 capture technologies for the oil & gas sector, for example, on behalf of its owners, which include Shell, Statoil and Sasol. TCM recently launched a new report crystallising the most important technologies for commercialising CCS.
About CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad
CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) is the world’s largest facility for testing and improving CO2 capture. It is a joint venture between the Norwegian state, Statoil, Shell and Sasol. The centre comprises two CO2 capture plants each with a capacity to capture approximately 80,000 tons of CO2 from the nearby refinery or 20,000 tons from a gas fired power plant.
The Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, recently announced a new contract between TCM and Shell Cansolv for testing of Canvolv’s advanced CO2 capture process at the existing amine plant at TCM. The test campaign will be performed using exhaust gas from the Combined Heat and Power Plant at Mongstad, with focus on process verification and emission control.