Since 2008, the NOx Fund has provided support for SCR systems and urea operational support for ships. With the increasing number of SCR systems, including among rigs, there has been a need to enhance the urea infrastructure.
Since 2008, the NOx Fund has disbursed nearly 1 billion NOK in support of installing Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems to over 300 ships and several rigs. These measures collectively reduce almost 20,000 tons of NOx per year. Approximately 350 million NOK in urea support has been granted during the same period to ensure sufficient economic incentive for the utilization of these systems. In recent years, several offshore rigs have also implemented SCR systems. Both on ships and rigs, SCR systems are often supported and implemented in conjunction with energy-efficient measures. This ensures cost-effective emissions reductions for both CO2 and NOx, with a significant decrease in NOx emissions.
"We are constantly working to strengthen the implementation of emission-reducing measures within businesses, in order to maintain and maximize their emission-reducing effect. As the demand for urea increases due to the implementation of several SCR measures across a large geographical area, the need to improve infrastructure in Norway has significantly risen. Often, there is a requirement for decentralized solutions with smaller volumes, which makes investment decisions challenging. Therefore, we have had two rounds of support for urea infrastructure," says Tommy Johnsen, General Manager of the NOx Fund.
Support for urea infrastructure for customized shipping
The purpose of the initial support for urea infrastructure launched in 2014 was to contribute to increased access to technical urea in the shipping market, reduce transportation costs, and thereby enhance the competitiveness of urea. Support from the NOx Fund resulted in the establishment of three new or expanded production and storage facilities in Norway, located in Drammen, Karmøy, and Bergen. Collectively, this has fostered healthy competition, reasonable prices, and acceptable availability.
Yara in Drammen
In 2018, Yara received a grant of 2.5 million NOK as their expansion project was completed. The project involved the transformation of the urea storage facility in Drammen. Yara imports the liquid product from their major production plants in Sluiskil and Brunsbüttel, which is transported by ships to the central facility in Drammen. There, they upgraded their storage capacity to several thousand cubic meters and introduced 40 ISO containers for further distribution that supplies all industries across Norway.
Yara can distribute urea from Drammen by train to Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, and Narvik. From the train station, the product is transported by trucks to storage tanks at the quayside. The ISO containers, with a capacity of 27 m3, are used as storage tanks at the quay. For substantial individual deliveries, Yara can supply directly to the quayside using numerous ISO containers transported on ships directly from Europe. Otherwise, road transport is used from the main storage tank to the end customer. Smaller storage tanks at the quayside are owned by partners, including Bunker Oil, which has 250 m3 storage capacity available in Ålesund, 150 m3 in Bergen, and 100 m3 in Tromsø. Yara delivers either directly to end-use customers or to distributors who further sell to end-use customers.
Yara facility outside Drammen (photo by Yara).
Torvastad in Karmøy
Fred Holmberg & Co Norge AS received a disbursement of 1.9 million NOK in 2014 to expand the storage capacity at the urea blending facility in Karmøy. The facility, which has been in operation since 2012, blends solid urea with distilled water to produce liquid urea solution for use in ships. From there, the urea solution is delivered either directly to customers or to companies engaged in decentralized distribution. Urea solution, or AUS40, is then transported by tanker trucks to Stavanger, Bergen, Tromsø, and all the way up to Hammerfest. The production rate averaged 7.8 tons per hour during continuous operation. The company has since merged with Brenntag Nordic AS and has developed greater capacity.
Parts of the distribution primarily occur using tanker trucks (photo: Brenntag).
Eco Haulage in Bergen
Eco Haulage Ltd received a support of 2.2 million NOK to construct a urea blending facility in Bergen. Today, the company has changed its name to Ecourea. The company imports urea in dry sacks from China and carries out the blending process at its production facility in Fyllingsdalen, Bergen. They either deliver directly to customers or to more decentralized distributors. The facility is located a 6-minute drive from the quay, so urea is transported by trucks to the quayside. They have significant storage capacity of 480 m3 at the production site. Additionally, they have storage tanks in Tananger (75 m3) and Kristiansund-Vestbase (50 m3). While these tanks are not located at the quayside, they are a short distance away from the quay.
The blending facility of Ecourea in Bergen (photo by Ecourea).
Support for urea infrastructure tailored for offshore operations
The existing infrastructure for urea was tailored for deliveries to shipping until 2020/2021. Deliveries to rigs and large offshore vessels require larger bulk volumes, and the current solution of truck transport from central warehouses to the quayside is unfavourable, especially for safety due to the increased number of trucks on the road. Solutions that reduce road transportation are desirable.
"Deliveries to rigs and large ships require larger volumes per delivery than what is currently the case along the Norwegian coast. Improved infrastructure will help ensure urea deliveries in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner, thereby ensuring the operation of purification systems with associated NOx reductions," says Tommy Johnsen, General Manager of the NOx Fund.
In 2020, the NOx Fund developed a support program to enhance infrastructure, environmental considerations, and safety related to urea deliveries to rigs and large ships equipped with SCR systems. The NOx Fund allocated 10 million NOK in the second round, and two applications were granted support.
Brenntag Nordic AS
Brenntag Nordic AS received more than 1.8 million NOK disbursed in 2021 to enhance storage facilities with a pump and pipeline system, allowing for the loading of 300 m3 in 2.5 hours directly at the dock. This innovation enables them to provide urea to rigs and large vessels without the need for road transport. The facility is situated on Karmøy and represents an upgrade of the former blending facility, which previously received support from the NOx Fund. Brenntag Nordic also imports urea in dry sacks from Europe and Asia, blending it into a 40% solution at their production facility. Subsequently, the solution is either delivered directly to customers or to supplier companies. Vincent Lundstrøm, European Product Manager, reports that the current production capacity is around 10 tons per hour, equivalent to 80,000 tons per year.
"Our exclusive customer segment consists entirely of actors within the maritime industry. Thanks to support from the NOx Fund, we have been able to maintain a larger inventory of finished goods, enabling faster deliveries to our customers. Our current focus is on energy efficiency, with the aim of reducing our environmental impact while simultaneously minimizing overall costs. This is an effort we take seriously", concludes Lundstrøm.
The new tank facility at Brenntag in Karmøy, from the left, European Product Manager AdBlue Vincent Lundström, CEO Hans Magnar Aanensen, and Production Manager Iliyan Topalov (photo: Fleddum).
Ecourea in Tananger
Ecourea received 2 million NOK to install a mobile blending facility. The facility is located in Tananger, Stavanger, where the traffic of offshore vessels is substantial. The new facility has the capacity to produce up to 200 m3 of 40% urea solution per day. Currently, Ecourea collaborates with Glander International Bunkering AS for the delivery of urea, both through local truck transport and direct from the harbour at Risavika.
"The site has currently capacity to hold a total of 265 cbm of finished product and we have a production rate of 25 cbm per hour. The support from the NOx Fund has been very significant in getting this facility installed and with the site strategically placed quayside at Tananger it offers flexibility for vessels to take finished product ex pipe, says the general manager in Ecourea, Alex Roberts.