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Scientists on Svalbard eye underground CO2 storage

by Open-Publishing - Saturday 5 January 2008
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Sciences Environment

The university on Svalbard is preparing to test out a possible underground storage facility for carbon dioxide in Longyearbyen, in hopes of making the area "CO2-neutral."

Ole Magnus Rapp
Aftenposten’s reporter
First published: 04 Jan 2008, 16:26

This fall students and construction workers have drilled 855 meters down in Longyearbyen, and found a thick layer of slate, under which lies a layer of porous sand. "The drilling tests are being analyzed and all indications are that here are ideal conditions for storing CO2," says University Center UNIS director Gunnar Sand.

Much of the activity on Svalbard is based on coal, and all the electricitiy and warm water for Longyearbyen and Barentsburg are generated by coal-driven power. Sand, with a background in the industrial and technical research foundation SINTEF, has long had a vision of making Longyearbyen CO2-neutral.

The third phase of the project would see coal-power emissions treated and stored 855 meters down in the ground, but first the storage must be tested. The current closest source of captured CO2 is Melkøya near Hammerfest, which is set to freeze gas from the large offshore gas field Snøhvit (Snow White). The plan is to import and inject this CO2 near Longyearbyen and follow how it behaves with special measuring instruments.

In contrast to other projects, which first rinse their CO2 and then look for somewhere to store it, the Longyearbyen project has the storage ready, says Sand.

The university will now set up a line of study that includes the entire value chain from coal, via power generation, through CO2 capture to storage. Several students, researchers and companies in and around Longyearbyen are involved in the project.

"We have drilled through a lot of interesting geology that is 80 to 120 million years old," say graduate students Stefanie Hartel and Pierre Mauries. They have found indications of oil and coal in the 855-metre long drilling samples, which are now stored chronologically at the university.


Svalbard (the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen Island in particular) is becoming a busy place these days. Another project of interest occuring at Longyearbyen is desribed here:

"The seed bank is being built inside a mountain on Spitsbergen Island near the small village of Longyearbyen. It’s almost ready for ‘business’ according to their releases. The bank will have dual blast-proof doors with motion sensors, two airlocks, and walls of steel-reinforced concrete one meter thick. It will contain up to three million different varieties of seeds from the entire world, ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future,’ according to the Norwegian government. Seeds will be specially wrapped to exclude moisture. There will be no full-time staff, but the vault’s relative inaccessibility will facilitate monitoring any possible human activity."

"Doomsday Seed Vault" in the Arctic
Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don’t
by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, December 4, 2007

Forum posts

  • The Japanese do the same and moreover they already have deployed technologies in order to switch to a hydrogen economy. Plug Power provided by Honda is capable of converting methan into hydrogen and Honda supplies not only the car but the unit for home usage!

    Unless other "scientists" I think hydrogen and the powercell will be the future.