2012-06-25 - On May 7, 2012, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg inaugurated the CO2 Technology Center Mongstad, which develops technologies for carbon capture. ABB has delivered a new solution for the integration of electrical and automation systems to the plant, which may come to play an important role in combating climate change.
At the CO2
Technology Center Mongstad (TCM) there are three separate control rooms side by side, all of which contain equipment supplied by ABB, with the Extended Automation System 800xA as the underlying control system.
It’s an unusual layout because both Aker Clean Carbon and Alstom are testing out their specific technologies for the capture of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). The companies have one control room each and in the middle is a "neutral zone," a central control room for both technologies and the utility systems. All three control rooms have a so-called EOW-X console from ABB providing a workstation for the operators.
Besides the actual control system, ABB has designed a custom made graphical user interface for the control room screens. The control rooms are sound proofed and contain windows, which cannot be used to see the monitors in the Aker and Alstom rooms from the outside.
"The companies are competing to develop the most effective technology for full-scale CO2 capture and as such need to protect their intellectual property, especially since they are developing these technologies side by side at this unique installation," says communications manager Vegar Stokset.
Capturing 90 percent
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes carbon capture technology could contribute as much as 20 percent of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions needed to limit a global temperature rise of just two degrees Celsius by 2050. With modern technology, up to 90 percent of CO2 from flue gas can be captured and stored safely, and is therefore an effective measure in the fight against climate change.
To reach this goal we need to develop a cost-effective method for large-scale carbon capture. TCM’s mission is to become a world-class facility for technology developers to test and improve their techniques.
Both Aker Clean Carbon and Alstom are testing so-called after burn technologies, which use chemicals to absorb the CO2 produced from hydrocarbon combustion. The companies have their own process loops with separate control systems. Nearly 4,000 instruments transmit signals to the control systems, which interpret and present information on the operator screens in control rooms to ensure they are operating safely and efficiently.
Integrated power and automation
Besides the extensive automation delivery, ABB has supplied a large amount of electrical equipment throughout the plant, including drives for optimal speed control of motors, transformers, high- and low-voltage switchboards, as well as protection and control equipment.
Modern processing plants depend on reliable power supplies, which means that the monitoring and control of both the electrical and automation processes is of equal importance. Traditionally, it has not been possible to fully integrate these two major systems, since they were developed independently and speak different languages. The TCM uses pioneering new technology to allow the convergence of both the power and automation systems.
“One of the major differences between TCM and other facilities, is the communication solutions. Whereas before a standalone data network for the monitoring and control of the electrical system was required, it can now coexist within the same physical data network as other systems in the process, which ensures that at the same time access control and safety are safeguarded. Such infrastructure is highly flexible and future-oriented,” says Per Arind Berg, from ABB.
The electrical system is integrated into the automation system using the new Ethernet-based communication standards. The communication standard is the language used to communicate information between different systems. ABB’s System 800xA is the first control system that can integrate all of the common industrial communication standards in a single, common data network within the process plant.
"From an automation point of view, the groundbreaking achievement on this site is the almost seamless integration of the power and automation systems that ABB has provided. When more systems speak the same language, it is easier to align and analyze the information, so that one can get, for instance, a better understanding of a certain event. That gives the operator or the automation system a better foundation on which to base decisions that will allow the process to run more efficiently," says Per Arind Berg.
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Facts about the CO2Technology Center Mongstad
Technology Centre Mongstad was established by Gassnova, Statoil and Shell in 2009. A year later, Sasol also became an owner. TCM controls an area equivalent to about 10 football fields, outside the refinery at Mongstad.
The goal of TCM is to test, develop and verify cost-effective technology for large scale CO2 capture, making it commercially attractive to invest in this type of environmental technology. At Mongstad, everything is setup to engage in technology development in this area, thanks to a plentiful supply of flue gas from the refinery or gas power plant. Currently, two different technologies for carbon capture and storage are being developed. Space is also available to test other technologies on the same scale or in smaller test facilities.
From now on and over the next 12-18 months, Aker and Alstom test their respective technologies. Aker Clean Carbon’s technology separates CO2 from flue gas using an amine solution. This is a procedure that has long been known in the industry, while Alstom has chosen a newer method where they use chilled ammonia to absorb CO2.
The tests carried out at the TCM will be relevant for CO2 capture at power and industrial plants worldwide.
Gassnova is an organisation that was established to manage governmental interests related to carbon capture and storage.