This transition requires parallel efforts on:
- Reduction in waste of energy by implementation of more efficient processes, buildings etc., applying analysis of energy systems and thermodynamics.
- Transition measures to reduce the environmental impacts of exploration and utilization of fossil resources and adapting such for growing renewable fractions.
- Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) from point source emissions.
- Technology to support more use of carbon neutral renewable energy.
The overall goal of the ECC research group is to make significant contributions to innovative solutions to the climate challenge, developing concepts for robust energy matrices and reducing the environmental impact of energy technology.
Efficient transition to a low carbon society requires knowledge about renewable energy and CO2 capture, as well as the processes currently used in the energy sector. Such knowledge is integrated in the ECC research group by combining the efforts of the following areas where we have well established research:
- Energy systems optimization
Studies on how to make various industrial processes more energy efficient and less polluting has been carried out for decades, contributing to a much improved regional environmental condition and integrated industrial and public energy grids.
- Oil and gas
Reservoir technology studies, relevant for low impact production and carbon storage, and environmentally sound handling of wastes (e.g. drill cuttings), are studied together with the petroleum industry. Oil and gas is, in the ECC perspective, part of the problem but also a necessary part of the solution to achieve efficient transition to carbon neutrality.
- CO2 Capture
Research on finding new CO2 capture processes and improving existing ones while dealing with related environmental challenges. Sound experience on ‘Gas Treating’ is the foundation for this work. CO2 transport and storage are also part of this activity.
- Alternative Fuels
Alternative solid fuels utilized in the industry to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. Reduced net emissions of pollutants (e.g. CO2 and NOx) and the replacement of coal are studied. New fuels are also made by thermal gasification of biomass. More sustainable waste handling is obtained by such fuel production.
- Environmental Biotechnology
Biogas from organic matter is efficient fuel production, as methane, from wastewater and organic slurries. Water and nutrients are also recovered and reused. Fundamental biofilm research and bioreactor design yield methods to degrade troublesome constituents (e.g. hydrogen sulphide and toxic organics).
- Environmental engineering: Water technology
The environmental engineering water technology research at USN has focus on cost efficient infrastructure solutions to reduce risks to human life and societal cost due to water induced waterborne disease and infrastructure damages. This includes work to develop smart solutions for new circular economy value chains to monitor, assess and manage the integrated water system and protect its critical assets, from source to tap to wastewater treatment. Furthermore, new technologies for resource recovery (water, energy, nutrients) from wastewater are important aspects that are included. In a nutshell, our work contributes to identify and establish resilient and sustainable water management and infrastructure solutions.
The ECC group efforts augment the development of carbon neutral solutions, required to meet Norwegian national targets and international commitment to curb greenhouse gas emissions, i.e. reduce CO2 emissions by 20%, increase the renewable energy fraction to 20% and increase energy efficiency by 20%, within 2020.
Disciplines: The main disciplines are: Energy technology, Process technology, Chemical, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering. Chemistry, physics and mathematics are fundamental disciplines while environmental management principles are applied to find optimal solutions.
Partners: ECC interfaces with other research groups at TUC: Aqua-HiT, Telemark Modeling and Control Center, Process safety, combustion and explosions and Hydro Power.
UiA, UiS, NTNU, SINTEF, Skagerak Energi, Statkraft, ABB, Norner, Tel-Tek, Statoil, Yara, Inflowcontrol, Alstrom and Norcem are key partners; the group has contact with many institutions abroad.
Ongoing research projects: Examples of activities addressing these challenges currently carried out by ECC teams, in cooperation with external partners include:
- District heating on wood and residues
- Biomass gasification to biofuels
- Improved flow control in oil and gas industry processes to improve efficiency, cut losses and pollution
- Carbon capture, from chemistry to industrial pilot tests
- CO2 for enhances oil recovery and secure storage in reservoirs
- Dry organic wastes as energy sources, refuse based fuels to replace coal (e.g. in cement production) and safe disposal of priority pollutants
- Resources from wet organics by anaerobic digestion
- Biological sulphide treatment and control in fuels and polluted water
 Stortingsmelding nr 39, 2008-2009 “Klimaforliket” - an agreement between the majority parties in the Parliament in 2012 emphasizes the need for a national strategy.