“Just look at what we can do with modeling” is how we can sum up the recently concluded operating season for our BECCS research facility. That modeling can be very good at helping us achieve clear-cut results is nothing new, but it’s just as satisfying every time our models deliver results. As a result, between the modeling program and performing tests, we can drive interactive development in our research facility.
In our program, we set up different scenarios, such as how the facility’s operations differ depending on low vs high electricity prices, or what happens when different levels of carbon dioxide are captured. These scenarios are then tested in the facility. Data outcomes are used in our next round of modeling and result in material for new scenarios. In other words, a very good research cycle.
Working like this to evaluate is very valuable in the fine-tuning phase of BECCS technology that we find ourselves in. As early as the first operating season in 2019 we confirmed that BECCS technology works. The two operating seasons since then have focused on fine-tuning. This season is no different; it has gone well and provided stable and good results. We have been able to carry out most important parts of research: proof of concept, optimization and evaluation. For example, we have optimized the energy used and produced during the process, evaluated the quality of captured carbon dioxide to meet the requirements of those who will store it and took environmental measurements for our permit application. We have also tested the mineral ilmenite in the boiler that aims to make the capture of CO2 more efficient. Techno-economic calculations have helped us find out what all of this entails for the variable costs.
A research period with so many results showing that the pieces are falling into place of course makes me happy, but one should not forget that any successful season in the facility includes tests that have gotten us stuck. However, it’s not uncommon that these “failed” tests move us further along than a successful test. That’s the nice thing about a small-scale facility like our research facility. When we test here, the outcomes can be wrong and don’t come with long-term effects. When we build our large-scale facility, the technology will be well thought-out and optimized down to the smallest detail.
Now it is time to start writing reports that summarize and analyze this season’s results. An important part of this work is, among other things, the final reporting to the Swedish Energy Agency because we are a part of the Swedish government’s climate initiative for industry (Industriklivet). After that we will make some time for vacation – the facility and I both need it😊
PS: Earlier this spring I wrote an article in Euro Heat and Power Magazine about our investment in BECCS, read it here if you’re interested!