CLOSER TO REALISATION: Looking forward to getting started on the factory at Herøya. Chairman Rolf Bruknapp, left and General Manager Gunnar Holen of Nordic Blue Crude.
Towards the end of last year, Nordic Blue Crude was able to finalise the financing for project engineering and planning of the climate-friendly diesel production plant. The factory is to be built at Herøya Industrial Park (HIP) and, if all goes to plan, construction will start during 2018.
General Manager of Nordic Blue Crude, Gunnar Holen, is currently reluctant to name the investors, but tells us that the company has attracted some tens of millions of kroner in capital for the planning and engineering phase. The financing comes from various investors, but with an investment company providing the lion's share. The rest derives from a number of private investors.
"This gives us the working capital we need," Holen says. "We continue to seek the full financing of the factory, but there is no rush, as we are not planning to start on the construction work until the second half of 2018.
First commercial factory
Climate-friendly diesel is produced from CO₂, water and electric power. The players believe that the factory at Herøya will be the world's first commercial factory based on this technology.
In 2015, German Sunfire and Audi announced that they had produced their first litre of diesel from water, carbon dioxide (CO2) and renewable energy at a pilot facility in Dresden. The product, which was christened Blue Crude, was then refined into what Audi calls "e-diesel". The Norwegian company Nordic Blue Crude signed a licence agreement with Sunfire with plans to establish a factory at Herøya Industrial park in Porsgrunn, Norway. It is this factory that is now closer to realisation.
"In the first instance, we wish to establish an annual production of 10 million litres of synthetic diesel. The goal is to start production in 2020," says Holen. "If all succeeds, we will expand and increase production to 100 million litres annually."
The plant being built is not for demonstration. Production of 10 million litres will yield revenues of approximately NOK 200 million annually. The investment is estimated at 70 million euros, or approx. NOK 680 million at current rates.
Holen is well satisfied with progress in achieving full financing of the project. "We have declarations of intent from banks with regard to loans, and have good dialogue with Enova, the European Investment Bank and investors. This side of things looks very promising, so I'm not worried about not getting there," he concludes.