Environmental Technology, News

Integrated Solutions for Sustainable Development

The concept of integrated solutions has fallen on fertile ground in Norway: interdisciplinary, international and innovative alliances are sprouting up across the board, and feeding into projects that range from using produced energy more efficiently to matching the production of...

Research institutions and private actors are cooperating in the development of new technological resources and in proffering consulting services that include environmental impact analyses as well as certification and quality assurance services.

In 2002 the environmental alliance ENVIRA – the Environmental Research Alliance of Norway (Miljøalliansen) – was formally established, representing the increased focus on integrated solutions and interdisciplinary cooperation that shapes environmental thinking today. ENVIRA is a continuation of previous cooperation between the institutes NIVA, NIBR, NINA, NIKU, NILU and Jordforsk but with a more pronounced focus on the promotion of cross-sector research. Today, scientific groups meet to work together on specific issues across institute boundaries. In cooperation with the Institute of Marine Research, for instance, ENVIRA has initiated a new programme for value creation in the Norwegian coastal zone, an initiative that has been followed up by the Research Council of Norway. The Council has invited the scientific community to submit proposals for future research in the field

and appointed a committee to prepare a strategy document for future research. Based on the recognition that the Norwegian coastal zone encompasses many vital user interests that impose great demands on the environmental quality of terrestrial and marine resources, the initiative will seek to ensure the protection of the zone’s potential for future value creation, in connection with activities such as food production, tourism and utilization of natural and cultural resources.

Environmental Impact Assessments Meet Market Forces

ENVIRA has previously collaborated predominantly with aid organizations and public authorities, but is rapidly expanding into the private sector, and in 2002 joined INTSOK with this in mind. Oil companies represent an important environmental technology market, in that ENVIRA can offer integrated systems covering a wide range of environmental technology needs. One example is Environmental Impact Assessment on new installations. NIVA (Norwegian Institute for Water Research) has been on assignment for Statoil in Venezuela, carrying out monitoring, emissions measurements and sediment testing. NILU (Norwegian Institute for Air Research) has supported the oil and petrochemical industries using its own tracer gas technique to study emission rates, dilution and diffusion of gases. The technique has been applied in several countries to quantify diffuse VOC leakages from refineries, petrochemical plants and oil production platforms. NILU has performed studies in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium and Portugal.

Also within the oil sector NILU and partners are providing the necessary services to achieve a state-of-the-art, professional air quality monitoring and management system for ADNOC – Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. The project will work to establish a comprehensive air quality project to control gas emissions and to monitor air pollutants. Collaborating partners here are Dome Oilfield Services (DOME) and its subcontractors, Interconsult International AS (ICI) and the Norwegian company Oceanor AS. Other objectives include providing an information and simulation tool to develop and implement an air quality management programme. It is also aimed at creating a model that can clearly show the distribution of the accidental release of gases. An important focus of the project is on developing systems which local populations can in time implement themselves, thus enabling long-term sustainable and independent development.

Coping with CO2

The KLIMATEK programme is one of several Norwegian initiatives with the objective of developing, testing and demonstrating technology that can help Norway meet future emission restrictions. In 1997 CMR (Christian Michelsen Research) established the KLIMATEK programme on assignment for the Research Council of Norway. Since then, the institute has coordinated this national programme aimed primarily at companies responsible for large emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as suppliers of technology and research organizations. The programme particularly focuses on the reduction of CO2 emissions related to gas power, offshore petroleum production and land-based processing industry. Norwegian research institutions and industry are now engaged in this work in close cooperation with leading international partners: Statoil, in collaboration with Navion, SINTEF Energiforskning and Vigor, is researching the options for ship-to-shore transport of CO2, capitalizing on its experience with transport of liquid natural gas. Elkem Aluminium and the American company Alcoa are in the development stages of new technology which, if successful, will result in more cost-efficient and ship-to-ship environmentally-friendly aluminium production.

Cleaning Up Energy: Hydrogen and Energy Efficiency

Hydrogen in the transport sector and the interest in hydrogen as a clean energy carrier have strongly increased during the last few years. A breakthrough for fuel cell-powered vehicles is anticipated, with hydrogen the best and cleanest fuel for such vehicles. Hydrogen is by many regarded as the energy carrier of the future, and in this context Norway’s achievements in the field are perceived as quite outstanding. An expert study group to investigate the use of hydrogen within Norway’s transportation sector has been established by the Ministry of Transport and Communications; the study group is due to submit its recommendations in the first quarter of 2004. Among the group’s tasks is to study how Norway can best contribute to the international development of zero-emissions technology in the transport sector. The group will take a particular look at the use of hydrogen in road transport. Norsk Hydro has also been represented in the High Level Group in Hydrogen and Fuel Cells established by the European Commission to submit a European strategy on hydrogen and fuel cell development. Among the Group’s contributions are several proposals, including a European road map on the development of hydrogen as a fuel.

Norsk Hydro has also played a key role in bringing about the world’s first commercial hydrogen filling station. The station was launched in Reykjavik, Iceland, in April of 2003. The hydrogen station is the first phase in the ECTOS project headed by an international joint venture, Islandsk NyOrka (Icelandic New Energy Ltd.), with a goal of exploring the possibilities of replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen in Iceland and developing the world’s first hydrogen economy. The station uses Norsk Hydro Electrolysers’ hydrogen technology in its complete hydrogen fuelling station. The three hydrogen-fuelled busses presented in the Reykjavik ECTOS project will serve normal routes in Reykjavik for two years beginning in October of 2003. Norsk Hydro has also delivered a second hydrogen filling station that was introduced in Hamburg, Germany,
in September 2003, as part of CUTE (Clean Urban Transport for Europe), the largest European demonstration project on hydrogen and fuel cells involving nine different city projects across Europe and supported by the EU Commission.

More Renewable Energy Sources

The Norwegian government’s plan for Norway’s production focuses on both energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. The public agency Enova is responsible for improving energy efficiency through reorganizing energy use from direct electric heating to natural gas and central heating, and for financing and demonstrating the role of renewable energy sources in Norway. Established in 2001 and operational as of 2002, Enova SF is a proactive agency, representing the integration of strategic policy responsibilities in a small organization. Enova has already, in the course of the year-and-a-half since its establishment, realized excellent results with regard to the number of produced and saved kilowatt hours. Enova operates through formal energy channels such as the EU, the OECD and EETIC, in the latter case specifically through the CADDET (Centre for the Analysis and Dissemination of Demonstrated Energy Technologies) programme, an international information network with the objective of disseminating information on newly demonstrated technology.

Enova has specific funding for production costs in connection with wind technology, granting investment subsidies to projects that would not otherwise have been realized. Among the projects supported by Enova is New Wind Technology for Norwegian Conditions Phase 2, run by ScanWind together with NTE (Nordtrøndelag everk). ScanWind Group AS is a Norwegian-Swedish company founded in 2000 and dedicated to the development, manufacture and sale of large wind power units, especially designed for park installation in Nordic countries and environments. At present ScanWind has developed and constructed a 3 MW demonstration turbine with a direct-drive generator installed and in operation at Hundhammerfjellet in Nord-Trøndelag. In the spring of 2004 the company will construct its second demonstration turbine, also a 3 MW but with gears. Series production will commence at the end of 2004 with the first delivery of 12 turbines to a wind power plant at Hundhammerfjellet.

Yet another project in the Norsk Hydro portfolio – and its most unique to date – is the wind energy project located on the island of Utsira, Norway. The Utsira project aims to resolve one of the major challenges associated with many sources of renewable energy: most are intermittent. Wind turbines cannot produce power if there is too much or too little wind; solar power cannot be produced when there is no sun. Hydrogen can solve this problem. On Utsira, two windmills, operational since mid-September 2003, will produce power for the market and for an autonomous hydrogen energy system. More than 10 % of the island’s households using electricity both for lighting and heating will be connected to the renewable energy system.

On the basis of many years of research and development activities in the field of energy production and clean energy, Norwegian Statoil has now established a business environment for these activities. The new business development unit is called “New Energy” and was formally established in January 2002 with the mission of developing businesses that will lead to more sustainable energy production and an increased use of clean energy carriers. The unit is made up of four different divisions: Energy Efficiency; CO2 Management, with a focus on transforming CO2 from a problem to a resource; Hydrogen as a clean energy carrier; and, lastly, the Division for Renewable Energy.

The latter division is currently involved in a collaborative project with Hammerfest Energi and ABB involving the development of a subsea windmill prototype. The company Hammerfest Strøm has led the project, and installation of the prototype in the Kvalsund channel in the town of Hammerfest took place at the end of 2002, with connection to the power grid effective in September 2003. The prototype is expected to generate something in the vicinity of 700,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy annually. Similar projects are being carried out in a number of places throughout the world, using different technological approaches such as man-made lagoons. The tidal current turbine installed into the seabed in the Kvalsund channel, however, has a much lower environmental impact than such artificial installations. It is the first of its kind – never before has electricity produced by tidal current been fed into a power grid.

Come Rain, Come Sun

An important actor in the rapidly growing solar energy sector is the company ScanWafer ASA, established in 1994. Since that time the company has been demonstrating strong growth. With all of its production in Norway, ScanWafer is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of multicrystalline silicon wafers – thin slices of crystalline silicon and the key component in a solar cell, which converts sunlight into electricity. Although solar cells can be made of different materials using different technologies, crystalline and silicon crystalline wafers are the most common. ScanWafer only produces multicrystalline wafers based on the belief that this is and will be the most cost-effective material because of a more cost-efficient production process. The company also considers this material to have the greatest potential for further cost reductions in the manufacturing process.

Norway is also participating at the European level. The EU project PV NORD, an international solar energy initiative, aims to demonstrate power generation from building integrated photovoltaic cells in a Nordic climate. The EU wishes to reinforce the development of building integrated systems in all European countries. PV NORD consists of eight demonstration projects and concrete initiatives in areas such as power production, environmental aspects, management and ICT. The project is coordinated by the NCC Construction Company in Sweden and consists of partners from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands. KanEnergi, a Norwegian consulting company offering consulting services on an international scale in the fields of energy and the environment, is responsible for the work on financing and ownership in connection with the project. West Agder County is also participating in the project in the capacity of demonstrating aesthetically satisfactory building integration of PV solutions. Focusing on northern EU countries in particular, PV-NORD was started in January 2002 and will continue until the end of 2004.


Quality Assurance & Certification Services

  The development of new technology in the environmental sector calls for a corresponding development in quality assurance and certification systems. The Norwegian company Det Norske Veritas (DNV) has certified the environmental management system of more than 4,000 companies worldwide, and its services include certification for wind turbines and wind farms. The company will carry out certification work on a new wind turbine, the NEG Micon 4.2 MW, produced by the Danish company NEG Micon A/S. The turbine will be one of the largest wind turbines available in the market. DNV’s Wind Turbine Certification department currently certifies wind turbines for the Danish companies NEG Micon, Vestas and Bonus, and is also engaged in certification of a large number of offshore wind farms projects in the North and Baltic Seas as well as the Irish Sea. A related area of development pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol is third-party services in the climate change market. Det Norske Veritas will be one of the first organizations to become accredited by a United Nations body for validation, verification and certification of projects under the Kyoto Protocol. One of the mechanisms is the so-called Clean Development Mechanism, the principle of which is investment by a company in a developed country in environmental technology in a developing country towards reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change has approved the first two baseline and monitoring methodologies ever for verifying the greenhouse gas emission reduction from a Clean Development Project. The first of the approved methodologies was submitted by DNV for a Brazilian landfill gas project developer (the Salvador da Bahia Landfill Gas Project). Another methodology submitted through DNV is also expected to be approved in the near future.