Elkem inaugurates world’s first carbon capture pilot for smelters at Rana plant for ferrosilicon and microsilica
Elkem, a company developing silicones, silicon products and carbon solutions, officially inaugurated the world’s first carbon capture pilot for smelters. The Mobile Test Unit (MTU), delivered by Aker Carbon Capture, is now connected to Elkem’s plant in Rana, Norway, which produces high-purity ferrosilicon and microsilica. Ferrosilicon is mainly used for the production of carbon & other alloy steels, stainless steel, cast iron, and electric steel.
Elkem Rana has an annual capacity of 90,000 mt of FeSi and 23,000 mt of Elkem Microsilica from two FeSi furnaces.
The carbon capture pilot testing is a collaboration between Elkem, Mo Industripark, SMA Mineral, SINTEF, Alcoa, Celsa Group, Ferroglobe PLC, Norcem AS, NorFraKalk AS, ACT Cluster and Aker Carbon Capture. With full-scale implementation, 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 can be captured from their combined emissions. In a couple of months, testing will commence at SMA Mineral.
The Aker Mobile Test Unit (Just Test) has been operational since 2008 and has continuously been upgraded in accordance with Aker’s latest technology developments. The Just Test unit utilizes Aker’s Advanced Carbon Capture technology fully installed, meaning that results from test campaigns are scalable towards large-scale plants. The Mobile Test Unit includes all functions as found in Aker’s large-scale systems, and is built for operation at a wide range of flue gases and locations. It consists of 6 units that can be easily transported for testing CO₂ capture technology on actual sources of flue gas.
Installation of Aker Carbon Solutions MTU.
There is no doubt that we need carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) to reach our climate targets. We need CCS in hard-to-abate industries to keep industrial jobs in Europe. This pilot will provide important learning related to CO2-capture in metal industries, and will be an important hub for other companies in the Industrial Park to test CO2-capture technology.—Amund Vik, Deputy Minister from the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
The pilot test is part of a larger R&D project, CO2 HUB Nord, which runs over two years and is funded by Climit Demo. The main goal of the project is to verify the technology on real industrial gases from smelters and other process industries, in order to prepare a full-scale plant for industrial carbon capture.
Elkem’s plant in Rana, Norway, was established in 1989 and today has around 140 employees. It produces speciality ferrosilicon products and microsilica based on renewable hydropower. In December 2022, Elkem partially curtailed its production in Norway by temporarily shutting down two furnaces—one at Thamshavn and one at Rana—due to high power prices. Elkem has long-term power contracts securing power at competitive rates; however the company decided it could “optimize value creation” by selling its power at highly attractive rate in the Norwegian power market rather than making its products.