Chemical & Process Engineering is a specialisation that likes to generalise, and to work across different disciplines. It was originally developed early in the Industrial Revolution to provide a link between Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry. Read more about the history of Chemical Engineering here. It involves process-oriented analysis and design – rather than being product or branch-oriented. There are underlying similarities between different production industries, and SINTEF Narvik aims to provide competence of broad applicability to the wide range of industrial processes in Northern Norway.

Within Chemical and Process Engineering some of our activities are:

  • Early-phase technical and economic analysis of industrial processes
  • Feasibility and due diligence studies of industrial processes
  • Multiphase reactive flows
  • Development and delivering educational material

Early-phase technical and economic analysis of industrial processes

Proposals for new processes or implementations can benefit from an early review of the feasibility of the concept, from both technical and economic perspectives. SINTEF Narvik is asked regularly to provide an assessment of the merits of a new proposal. In many cases there is no existing reference installation for comparison and evaluation proceeds from a review of scientific and patent literature, and calculations from first principles. Rough estimates of the operating costs and market prices can be useful to determine the requirements for profitable operation. Some processes that have been evaluated:

  • Plasma processes for converting methane to hydrogen and solid carbon (GasPlas; GreenCarbon).
  • Fuel cell processes for valorisation of waste, reduction of Carbon dioxide.
  • Novel size reduction processes involving electric pulses or vortex action (AgroPlas).
  • Waste valorisation from End-of-Life tyres and wet organic waste. (PyrolyseNor)
  • Technical support to development of epitaxial reactor concept, using COMSOL multiphysics, in connection with the IPSCET project. Also development of business plan for Borealis Solar for implementation of the process.

Feasibility and due diligence studies of industrial processes

More detailed planning of proposed implementations have also been made for industry and governmental agency customers. These usually are for processes that have been implemented elsewhere and the need is for determining the suitability for local implementation.

  • Gassmaks Nordland – a study of potential processes for value creation from natural gas and locally occurring minerals in Northern Norway . Report can be downloaded here, the 50 processes were described in more detail in a separate appendix.
  • Gassmaks Ofoten – an extension of the Gassmaks Nordland study to look specifically at the Ofoten region. Study made in conjunction with NGU (Norwegian Geological Survey).
  • GeoNor – a joint study with NGU, SINTEF and SINTEF Nord on scenarios and case studies for mineral-based industry in Northern Norway. Report available here.
  • Direct Reduction of Iron ore – a joint study with LKAB on the potential for the establishment of a DRI facility in Narvik.
  • LNG Terminal potential for Narvik
  • Bunkering of LNG in Narvik – analysis of the potential LNG volume required to supply the iron ore ships visiting Narvik harbour (if they converted to LNG-operation)
  • Studies on cold climate impacts on process industry, particularly petroleum industry. See a summary here.
  • Silicon carbide production by epitaxial deposition – development of a novel concept for the production of 3C-SiC semiconductors with epitaxial deposition for Borealis Solar. Involved literature study and multiphysics simulations. Partially financed by RFF Nord.

Multiphase Reactive Flows

Within the Process and Environmental Technology group at SINTEF Narvik a wide variety of different processes has been worked with. An common thread through many of these studies has been the technical challenges associated with the analysis of multiphase reactive flows – that is processes where there are chemical changes taking place with reactants and products in different phases (solid, liquid, gas or plasma) and the system involving motion (such as movement of gas or liquid relative to a solid phase).

  • Bioremediation of polluted soil (ASCAS Bodø and Hammerfest trials)
  • Bioconversion of organic waste (P3HB, ectoin)
  • Bioleaching of metal ions from low grade ore, Poster and paper from Mineral Engineering conference.
  • Direct reduction of iron ore (Reza Beheshti PhD study) – a summary here.
  • Multiphysics simulations with COMSOL
  • Kombucha and bacterial cellulose. (Summary brochure).
  • Evaluation of a commercial system for fermentation of food waste (Bokashi). Brochure describing the trial.
  • Solid state fermentation
    • Dry fermentation for biogas from OF-MSW
    • Sequential or Simultaneous Hydrolysis, Saccharification & fermentation for Spent Brewers Grains
    • Biorefining of OF-MSW (organic fraction of municipal solid waste)
    • Lactic acid fermentation of food waste (Bokashi) and production of bioplast from organic acids produced.
    • Tempeh – solid state fermentation of soya beans, as a model system and teaching exercise.

Development and delivery of education material

SINTEF Narvik was hired in to develop course material for Narvik University College’s Bachelor of Process Technology. The lecturing was performed for 2010-2013, before being taken over by the university’s own staff. Lectures were recorded and streamed and a large proportion of the students were remote.

  • Oil & Gas Design (ITE 1709). Covered process operations for separation and stabilisation of oil, gas and produced water from oil fields. Multiphase thermodynamics was covered by developing an in-house simulator based on Prode Properties as an Excel Add-in with Visual Basic macros.
  • Introduction to process technology (ITE 1700) Principles of unit operations and mass and energy balances
  • Chemical Engineering (ITE 1704) Application of unit operations to different types of process industry
  • Process-related Environmental Technology (ITE1707).

Laboratory exercises were developed to illustrate the principles in practice, and these had to be suitable for remote students with minimal access to equipment. Heat transfer with and without external stirring; mass transfer of lollipop dissolving in water and solid-state fermentation of soyabeans (tempeh).