BrevikCCS by night

Project manager's blog

Project manager Tor Gautestad gives updates on the progress.

Christmas 2023: Here comes a short status update from the world's first CO2 capture plant in the cement industry as 2023 draws to a close and a well-deserved Christmas holiday is just around the corner. 

At the previous update before the summer, I had to announce few visible changes on the construction site as the large equipment was still being prefabricated at other locations. Now, it is with pleasure that we can announce the exact opposite, as you can hardly recognize our cement plant compared to what the situation was before the summer. 

Massive lifts

During the autumn, we had three major campaigns involving the lifting of large components. The first of these was the installation of the absorber, which is a towering installation 50 meters high and weighing 230 tons. This was installed during the last week of August with a giant crawler crane with a capacity of 650 tons, in joint lifting operation with a 500 ton mobile crane. The process itself was a spectacular sight for us and many other spectators who followed along the outside of the fence. The stack for the absorber was also lifted in a few days later, which added another 50 meters to the top and which now towers 100 meters above the ground.  The red airplane light on the top has become a new landmark in the area.  The absorber is the heart of the capture system and is the unit where the CO2 from the flue gas is captured. 

With the absorber and stack in place, the large crane was dismantled, moved, and rigged up again in Grenland Havn's area for lifting the six storage tanks for CO2. Each of these also weighs just over 200 tons and is approx. 24 meters high.
The assembly of these went completely according to plan and they are now visible from the seaside. Early October, the large crawler crane was once again rigged up in the factory area to lift in two pipe modules and a large stair tower. 

New harbor loading facility

Grenland Havn is now in the process of finalizing the construction work related to the establishment of a loading facility for liquid CO2 for the ships that will transport the CO2 to Øygarden for permanent storage 2,600 meters below the seabed.

The new quay is now practically complete and the pipes from the tanks to the quay have been laid underground and pressure-tested. The loading arm and associated equipment will be installed on the new quay shortly after the New Year. 

The next big heavy lifting campaign will be in March. Then three large modules will be installed, which are now located at Trosvik for completion with pipes, valves, insulation, instrumentation and cabling.
In addition, the desorber must be in place as well as a large bridge over the process area, which must be lifted in two sections.  

After and towards the end, an enormous number of pipes and cables will be assembled, which will knit everything together into a complete process plant, which will be mechanically completed towards the end of 2024. 

The Catchers

The 15 process operators who will operate the plant 24/7 in five shifts are now employed, onboarded, and well underway with a very extensive training over approximately 12 months until in the autumn, when we will gradually start testing the plant, system by system. 

And we can still happily report very good results on everything to do with health, the working environment, the external environment and safety. At the end of November, approximately 550,000 working hours had been worked on the construction site without serious incidents.
So far, the project has had one(1!) injury with absence where a person slipped on the ice and sprained his foot in January this year. Currently, the number of workers on the construction site is slightly over 250 and it goes without saying that it is a formidable task to ensure that each individual at all times has the working environment and safety fully taken care of as far as possible. 

2023 has been a demanding but incredibly exciting year for us who work with the Brevik CCS project, a year which in that sense will probably only be beaten by 2024.
There is no doubt that the challenges will be many in the future as well, but we have an organization and a workforce that is now highly trained in finding good solutions to small and large obstacles that constantly arise.

We look forward to the continuation and wishes all of our workers, partners and followers a merry Christmas from Brevik.



Latest news

Tor Gautestad

Senior Manager Project and Process / Brevik CCS

Heidelberg Materials Norge AS Setrevegen 2
3950 Brevik

Previous blog posts

Spring 2023: Moving on

It's time for an update from the cement industry's very first full-scale CO2 capture plant again. Since the last update, we have rounded the turn of the year and are now finally in the big year 2023 - the year in which the CCS plant will be installed - the year we have been waiting for a very long time.

In short, the status of the project is roughly as expected at the last update. The project is moving forward roughly as planned, but still with additional challenges that are directly linked to the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia that have created global disruptions in the supply chain of materials and components. First and foremost, our challenges relate to deliveries of stainless-steel pipes, of which the plant has a great deal. This issue has now caused physical delays of approximately 4 months compared to original plan, but we now have control over this entire delivery. The materials have now been delivered from a supplier in England for prefabrication at a workshop in Lithuania. From there, the prefabricated parts are being sent either to Trosvik in Brevik for installation in the modules that are being built there, or directly to the construction site.

With regards to deliveries of other process equipment, this is on schedule and the most critical components have already arrived at the construction site. As previously reported, all 9 large steam boilers have been delivered and installed. In addition, the large fan that will deliver flue gas from the cement factory to the CCS plant has been installed in the process area, and the DCC (Direct Contact Cooler) has also been installed. The absorber, which is the largest single component in the plant, has also been delivered and is waiting on a barge outside our jetty together with the associated stack, and also the Desorber. Briefly, the 50 meter high absorber has the task of capturing CO2 in the amine liquid, while the Desorber's task is to release the same CO2 from the same liquid at a higher temperature. These components will be lifted in during the summer by a giant mobile crane.

Passers-by by boat will also be able to observe that the 6 large storage tanks for liquid CO2 have arrived from Spain and are waiting at the container terminal. These will also be lifted in during the summer.

In addition to the above-mentioned process equipment, also several other large components and modules have been delivered to Trosvik for further preparation before lifting in.

The comprehensive concrete works that have been ongoing until recently are now more or less finished and it is relatively quiet in the process area for a short while, pending mechanical assembly of the process plant. All foundations for large units are now ready and handed over from building contractors.

During 5 hectic winter weeks in the new year, the cement plant has carried out a very extensive winter overhaul. In addition to the usual maintenance tasks for the cement plant, the project has conducted two large and demanding rebuilds in that cooling tower No.2 has been replaced and also main ventilator No.1. Danish FLSmidth, as the responsible contractor, has performed an incredibly impressive job without any significant incidents and precisely on schedule.

And it must be mentioned that we can still report on very good results in Health, Safety and Environment from the construction site. We are still without serious incidents of any kind thanks to systematic and extensive HSE work in many levels and dimensions. The spirit is at its best and the commitment is great in all levels of the project, and the factory's employees are eagerly following the extreme transformation the factory is now going through.

And while the majority of the project organization is focused on the actual construction activities, we have now separated a group that focuses on testing, commissioning and operation of the CCS plant. Although this is more than a year away, there is an incredible amount to be prepared and coordinated towards mechanical completion, and the work is in full progress. We have also initiated the process of hiring the personnel to operate the plant in the future, and who will also be fully involved in the preparations. The process engineer for the CCS facility has recently been hired and the hiring of 15 process operators is ongoing. And during the year, the remaining of a total of 30 positions will also be filled.

2023 will be the major assembly year in which most of the new facility will be in place. All installation is thoroughly planned, and we are confident that this will continue to progress smoothly and safely. Not because it will be easy, but because we have an incredibly strong and competent project organization that works hard and well together, and that solves all small and large challenges every single day.

December 2022: On budget and on time

December 2022:

Here is an update on the establishing of the world's first full-scale CO2-capture plant in the cement industry at Norcem Brevik. In short, the project is progressing roughly as planned, but with some additional challenges that are directly related to the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia that have created global disruptions in the supply chain of materials and components.

Our challenges relate mainly to the delivery of stainless-steel pipes. The new facility requires lots of them, and it is still uncertain when the full amount will be delivered and available for prefabrication.

The activity on the construction site is steadily picking up, and our neighbours and passers-by are now observing major weekly changes, or actually daily. But despite a high level of activity, we are still happy to be able to report very good results on Health, Safety and Environment at the construction site, and there have been no serious incidents of any kind. The atmosphere is good, the commitment is great at all levels in the project, and the plant’s employees are eagerly watching the extreme transformation the plant is going through.

The project's largest contract on the construction side was awarded earlier this year to HAB, with  head office at Lysaker. HAB started its work early June, and is now in the process of completing the foundations and concrete structures in the area where the capturing facility itself will be located (the process area). This part should be finished in early January when the plant's annual winter maintenance starts, and at the same time installation of the first process equipment in this area is initialized.

Staying in the process area, this is probably where we will experience the most excitement throughout 2023: Shortly after Easter, the big "Heavy-lift campaign" starts with the lifting of the huge process equipment in this area during only approximately 4 weeks. A giant crane with a lifting capacity of 650 tons then comes in, and will lift a number of components and modules weighing between 80 and 350 tons. The modules are now under construction at Trosvik in Brevik where components, pipes, pumps, valves, electrical installations and insulation are completed in large steel frames to be transported to the new Cementine-kaia at Norcem with barges and then lifted onto the area.

Already in the middle of January, the kiln stops for the annual winter maintenance of the, which this time starts two months earlier than usual and will last two weeks longer because of the CCS-project. In addition to the normal scope of maintenance of the cement plant, this time the project will replace the second of the two main fans (HV1) with a much larger unit, and we will replace the entire gas conditioning tower No.2 (GCT2). Both replacements are essential due to the much higher temperature these must operate under with the CCS-plant in operation.

All nine steam boilers are now in place, which will ensure heat recovery from the kiln’s exhaust gases. Throughout the winter, these will be equipped with platforms, pipes, valves etc.

In addition, the foundations for the large CO2-tanks behind the limestone storage on the jetty are under construction, and piling was completed a couple of months ago. Within short, the foundation will be cast, and in January the tanks will arrive and be put aside until the lifting period in April – May 2023.

2023 will be the major construction year, during which the major parts of the new facility will be put in place. All installation procedures are thoroughly planned, and we are confident that this will run smoothly and safe. Not because it will be easy, but because we have an incredibly strong and competent project organization that works hard and well together, and solves all small and large challenges every single day.

/Tor Gautestad

Demanding winter repair 2022

The time after the New Year, we have carried out a very demanding (and Covid19-influenced) winter repair of the cement plant, where the CCS project was responsible for major work in parallel with the extensive maintenance work that is always carried out during major overhauls.

The CCS project was responsible for replacing a large electrical filter and a large process fan during the 5 weeks duration of the winter repair. The replacement was necessary to adapt to the new process conditions that will apply with the CCS plant in operation and both components now function as intended.

It is also very gratifying that the first process components have been installed in the form of the 3 large flue steam boilers that will recover heat from the flue gas in string 2. The installation of these went according to plan and exactly on the dates that were decided a long time ago. Another 6 boilers will be installed after the summer and work to establish foundations for these is now underway with high intensity. A little extra splendor was that Aftenposten devoted 4 full pages to this event, including the front page.

Since the previous update, the project has come to a significant change in that the shipping quay has been moved from our own «Sekkekaia» to Grenland Havn's «Ro-Ro-Sør». There were a number of factors that triggered this change and we are very pleased that the case came to this conclusion after very good cooperation with the Port of Grenland.

New contract during spring 2022

During the spring, we entered into a new large contract with the construction contractor HAB, which is headquartered in Lysaker. HAB started its work in early June with the installation of more than 7,000 meters of piles in the area where the CCS plant will be located. This is an extensive work and is the first phase in establishing a complete concrete foundation for the process plant, which will be ready in November. After the summer holidays, HAB will also start work on establishing the concrete foundation for the six large storage tanks for liquid CO2.

During the spring, Tor Entreprenør has established a concrete foundation for the new maintenance center to be built in 2024. The foundation was established already now to save time at the other end and to have a good concrete slab for storage and prefabrication.

The contractor NRC is working hard to complete the new Cementine quay, which will be handed over on 15 July. This is a large and extremely solid construction where the large equipment is to be taken ashore from barges. In addition, a large seawater pumping station will be established to cool the CCS process as part of this construction.

Helge Klyve continues his work with establishing small and large foundations in their second contract for the project.

In general, all construction site activities are now about making the site and all foundations and structures ready for the big move immediately over the New Year when the process plant itself is to be installed over the following 12 months. These construction activities are currently characterizing Norcem Brevik  to a great extent and it is no secret that it creates disadvantages and challenges for all those who will supply a fiery construction market with first-class cement in all this. We are very impressed and pleased with the positivity, flexibility and patience with how the factory's management and employees support the project and which is absolutely crucial for the good progress and atmosphere that characterizes the construction site.

Start of construction - summer 2020

The preparatory construction work started already after the summer of 2020 with contractor Helge Klyve. These were started early, primarily to establish a large new electrical room that had to be in place for rewiring during the winter's main overhaul. This work has now been completed. The rewiring was a very extensive job which was carried out under the direction of the electrical department during the audit. The facility was commissioned on 8 May.

Demolition work is on, and the demo-contractor is R3. The demolition of the cyclone tower for Oven 5 has been completed, and the Premohallen has also been demolished. Furthermore, several other minor demolition works have been carried out; including the last remains of Oven 4 and Oven 5 on the east side next to the control room. Now begins the complicated demolition of Kiln 4 to the west, which is a tall concrete building full of processing equipment where access with large demolition machines is very limited.

There is a lot of activity, and a lot to keep track of, but progress is according to plan.

Summer of 2023

Summer 2023: Here follows a short status update from the world's first CCS development in the cement industry as the summer holidays of 2023 approach.

For neighbors looking into the construction area, it is perhaps a little disappointing that there are no major visible changes to be seen from week to week. Because there is no hiding the fact that, seen from the outside, there hasn't been much development on the construction site since the last update, early this spring. But this is primarily because the major construction works (demolition, foundation work, piling and concrete work) are virtually finished, and that the process plant is being built in modules elsewhere.

Full speed on deliveries

First and foremost, the major activity currently takes place in Lithuania, where the pipe arrangements are being prefabricated. This work is now progressing very well after being heavily delayed due to delayed deliveries of pipes from a supplier in the UK. As previously mentioned, there has been a challenge in the supply chain of stainless steel. But in Lithuania, production has now gained full speed, and prefabricated pipe spools are now continuously sent to Stord for painting before they are being sent to Trosvik in Brevik for assembly into modules.

The module construction at Trosvik has been delayed due to the abovementioned reasons, but is now no longer significantly hindered. Insulation and electrical assembly are also now ongoing on these modules at Trosvik.

Construction work in the harbour area

Furthermore, when it comes to construction work on the construction site, the highest activity is currently taking place in Grenland Havn's area where the quay facility is being prepared for the shipment of liquid CO2. These days work is starting to lay pipelines for CO2 (one for liquid CO2 from tank facilities to ships, and one return pipe for CO2 gas), and it is also imminent to start working on establishing the jetty which will eventually be equipped with a loading arm, valve arrangements, and shore power for the ship.

And as most of us are about to start again after the holiday, the large absorber with pipe will be lifted into place. More precisely, this milestone will take place in week 33, from August 14. A giant 650-tonne crawler crane will then be rigged up for this lift, which will be very visible to all passers-by. The absorber is 50 meters high and weighs around 230 tons, and the stack on top is also another 50 meters high and will be the plant's highest point. Immediately after this, the crane will be moved to the harbor area to lift in the six tanks for liquid CO2 located at the east end of the new limestone storage. Next, prefabricated modules will eventually be transported from Trosvik to the cement factory by barge, and lifted in with the same crane.

New employees

Otherwise, we are happy to announce that all the 15 process operators who are going to run the CCS plant, are now employed. They will be mobilized on October 2, and will then go through extensive training and lots of simulator training before we start testing and sequential start-up around next summer. They are undoubtedly facing an exciting time towards a start-up where "the whole world" is going to follow. Planning and preparations for testing, commissioning and start-up is currently subject to increasing attention in the project.

And again, we can happily report excellent results on everything related to health, working environment, external environment, and safety. By end of June, 412.000 hours have been worked on the construction site without serious incidents. So far, we have only had one injury with absence where a person slipped on the ice and sprained his foot.

In general, we are now entering a relatively quiet period at the construction site, as most people go on a well-deserved summer holiday. But the calm summer will be followed by a very busy autumn with large and very exciting operations on site. We can’t wait.

The Brevik CCS-train is speeding on and is still on track

In general, I would like to start by saying that progress is good and in accordance with the plan for all the critical activities. And not least, we still hold the most important of all zeros; namely, zero serious accidents, zero incidents of lost working time (LTI's), zero incidents of medical treatment (MTIs), zero incidents of first aid, zero incidents of reduced ability to work (RWC), zero incidents of significant emissions to the environment, zero incidents of significant injury on assets and no reported illness as a result of the work.

But we make no secret of the fact that we have had - and still have - a number of demanding conditions that challenge progress.

The first part of the development was characterized by demolition and construction on an old factory site full of surprises from old-fashioned construction practices and this phase we got through without critical delays. During the same period, we also had the Covid19 complications, which did not make things any easier either.

We are now extremely relieved that the major consequences of Covid19 are hopefully history, but an even greater concern is now linked to the consequences of the Ukraine conflict. The conflict has created great disturbances in the supplier industry all over the world with consequences for prices and delivery times. We have a progress plan with little slack and any threat to contractual milestones triggers large resources to secure critical deliveries.

Contracts signed

During the 14-month interim period (the period between the preliminary project, the political process and start-up), the most important and largest contracts for the project were prepared and negotiated, and they have now been signed. This primarily applies to the contract with Aker Carbon Capture, which is by far the largest single contractor in the project as supplier of the entire process plant, tank plant for liquid CO2 and unloading plant for ships. The contract with Danish FL Smidth, which is responsible for the necessary measures for the integration between the cement factory and the capture plant, has also been signed