Project status Brevik CCS Spring 2023

Project manager Tor Gautestad gives updates on the progress.

It's time for an update from the cement industry's very first full-scale COcapture plant again. Since the last update, we are now finally in the big year 2023 - the year in which the CCS-plant will be installed,  the year we all 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 some 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. That issue has now caused physical delays of approximately 4 months compared to original plan, but we now have control over the 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. 

Absorber, Desorber and other enormous process equioment

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 plant 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 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, several other large components and modules have also been delivered to Trosvik for further preparation before being lifted in. 

Calm- for now

The comprehensive concrete works that have been ongoing until recently are now more or less finished, and the process area is relatively quiet 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, the cement plant 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. 

HSE on track

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. The spirit of commitment is great on 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 a separate group of people who focus on testing, commissioning and operation of the CCS -. Although this is more than a year from now, there is an incredible amount to be prepared and coordinated towards mechanical completion, and the work is in full progress.

We're hiring

We have also initiated the process of hiring the personnel to operate the plant in the future, and they will also be fully involved in the preparations. The main process engineer for the CCS-facility has recently been hired, and the hiring of 15 process operators is ongoing. And during the year, the total of 30 vacant positions will also be filled. 

Major year for us

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. 


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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.

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

Tor Gautestad

Senior Manager Project and Process / Brevik CCS

Heidelberg Materials Norge AS Setrevegen 2
3950 Brevik