Norway boasts world’s largest carbon capture lab

Norway on Monday inaugurated what it called the world's largest laboratory for capturing carbon dioxide, a leading strategy for fighting global warming.

Norway boasts world's largest carbon capture lab
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg opens the Mongstad technology centre (Photo: Marit Hommedal/Scanpix)

Located at an oil refinery on Norway's west coast, the Technology Centre Mongstad aims to test French and Norwegian methods of capturing carbon dioxide emissions and burying them underground to prevent them from escaping into the atmosphere.

"We need to find a way to reconcile the need for energy and the need for emission reductions," said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as he inaugurated the site.

"Carbon-capture technology is a key," he said, adding: "This technology may deliver up to 20 percent of the emission reductions needed by 2050."

Built at an estimated cost of 5.9 billion krone ($1 billion) mainly with state funds, the Mongstad centre is "the world's largest and most advanced laboratory for testing carbon-capture technologies",
Stoltenberg said.

The centre is three-quarters owned by the state firm Gassnova, followed by a 20 percent stake held by Norway's Statoil, with the Anglo-Dutch Shell and South Africa's Sasol holding the remaining stakes.

It is testing technologies of the French company Alstom and those of Norway's Aker Solutions.

Stoltenberg launched the ambitious project in 2007 with the aim of making Norway a world leader in capturing and storing carbon dioxide, a goal he likened in importance to a Moon landing.

But the project has been plagued with delays and cost overruns: the goal of large-scale capture and storage of the carbon dioxide emitted by Mongstad's refinery and natural gas processing plant was initially set to enter operation in 2014, but is now expected to become possible in 2020 at the earliest.

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Northern Norway reports abnormally warm start to October

Night-time temperatures of 15-16 degrees Celsius in Norway are not normal for the time of year.

Northern Norway reports abnormally warm start to October
Illustration photo: Guillaume Briard on Unsplash

The northern part of the country in particular has had an unusually warm start to October.

Bodø, the capital of the North Norway county, registered a temperature of 16.5 degrees on the first day of the month, an all-time record for the location, NRK reports.

Warm evenings in the north have continued since, with the other days in October seeing night temperatures between 12 and 15 degrees.

The weather has also been dry, with only small amounts of rain since the beginning of this month.

Other locations including Kristiansand, Arendal, Værnes and Bergen have also experienced record high temperatures for October, according to the broadcaster’s report.

But the north of the country is showing the most marked trend.

“There is a clear trend. North Norway has had the most warming generally, including in the autumn,” Met Norway researcher Helga Therese Tilley Tajet told NRK.

“North Norway is the region (in Norway) which has had the highest warming since 1900. The autumn, along with spring, is the season which has increased most,” she also said.

Tajet cited global warming as the cause for the measured increases. But several factors are involved in the relatively faster warming in the north, she said.

“Less snow cover results in higher warming up when the sun is out. Less sea ice means the sea gets more heat from the sun,” she said.

“It is concerning that heat record after heat record is being broken. September was the warmest (September) ever measured globally,” she added.

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