BEFORM in Fredrikstad is in the driver’s seat to develop carbon capture among Norwegian major polluters
At an old and traditional industrial plant in Lisleby in Fredrikstad, advanced research and development takes place in the service of the green shift. The company BEFORM, formerly known as Biobe, will soon launch products that neutralize and remove carbon dioxide in specific industrial processes.
– Beform has extensive experience in making products that are used to clean flue gas from coal and oil-fired power plants. Then there has mainly been talk of sulfur dioxide. We are now in the process of developing products for CO2 purification as a pure continuation of the previous purification products we have developed, says project manager Jon Hermansen. He describes the market for equipment for CO2 purification as growing in the future. He adds:
– In BiobeBeform, we have now for three years carried out a capture project for CO2 in collaboration with and with the support of the research institute Sintef in Oslo. The aim of the project has been to develop plastic products that can be used in facilities for CO2 purification. We have carried out a large material analysis and have carried out a fairly extensive market scan to find which products are out there that we can use and focus on. We have then developed concrete products for which we can make molds and start selling on the open market.
More than a subcontractor
BEFORM is now focusing on further development within this industry and the aim is to establish a separate company which will take this work further into the future. COO (Chief Operating Officer) Eirik Bjørnsen in BEFORM says:
– We are a subcontractor to the industry and engage in so-called Lego production. It has nothing to do with Lego, but let me illustrate with the following example: If someone called Pilot comes to us and asks if we can produce ballpoint pens, then we can give a price on what it would cost to produce pens in a certain material. But we like to be masters of our own house and create a value chain through our own products. We will now go from simply being a subcontractor to the industry to having our own knowledge in the company which contributes to creating concepts and our own business. This is a big change for us. We have been subcontractors for many years and now we use our knowledge from sulfur dioxide purification to CO2 purification, he says.
In this way, the company in Lisleby goes straight into the circular economy and can contribute to a lower CO2 footprint in industrial processes.
– I have never been away from a project that could have a greater impact on pure carbon capture. When cleaning CO2, flue gas is driven into the bottom of a tower which receives a shower of chemicals at the top. CO2 then binds to the chemicals so that the gas is removed and can be separated. Inside this tower are various plastic products – developed at BEFORM – which do the important job. We can thus say that the company is developing from being a component supplier to becoming a complete system supplier for carbon capture in collaboration with other suppliers. We have now gained a knowledge that makes us attractive, Bjørnsen asserts.
Various investors are interested in what is now happening at Lisleby and make it relevant for Beform to separate this expertise into a separate company.
The biggest pollutors
The waste industry is an industry that is very interested in these processes. The waste incineration plant at Klemetsrud in Oslo is one example. Here, a capture plant for CO2 capture has already been completed. The same applies to the Norcem facility in Brevik, while Frevar locally in Fredrikstad has a similar facility under development.
– What is the potential for the products you have now developed?
– In Norway, among other things, cement production has been singled out as the big, ugly wolf when it comes to CO2 emissions. Almost every industry has a CO2 emission, say Bjørnsen and Hermansen and adds:
– In order, the big polluters are waste incineration, power plants and then comes industry. It is the cement industry that is unconditionally the worst CO2 polluter. In addition to that, you can, for example, CO2-clean ships and other things.
– And this is not just limited to Norway. Our further investment depends on the partners we collaborate with, says Bjørnsen and says the company is in concrete dialogue with international companies.
Time works for purification
– Surely these cleaning processes will require large investments?
– Yes, it is necessary to reduce operating constants so that you get a model where it becomes profitable to clean CO2 versus the burden society places on companies with CO2 levies. For the time being, this is to the advantage of releasing CO2 in relation to the investment cost that must be incurred. Therefore, it is important to find this point of intersection, and we are well on our way there, says Eirik Bjørnsen.
Using the plastic products developed in Fredrikstad instead of the usual material steel is also more cost-effective due to the fact that the plastic products have a longer lifespan than the steel. In Norway, BEFORM has no competitors when it comes to developing such cleaning products, but internationally there are several players who are interested in this growing market.
For BEFORM, all the product development has of course cost a lot of money. But after Bewi Invest took over as main owner, the financial backbone of the company has become much stronger.
All product development that is now taking place to contribute to CO2 capture could quickly end with BEFORM simply establishing a separate company for further development, which is naturally likely to be named Becapture. The domain name Becapture has long been purchased. It tells a little about the direction this work is going in. It could quickly become a small industrial adventure starting from the company in Lisleby. The company will probably be established during the first quarter of next year.