Shell and Siemens Westinghouse plan to build a pilot emission-free gas-fired power station in Norway.

The technology, which stops CO2 and NOx reaching atmosphere, would mainly be used to generate power for offshore oil and gas platforms, but could be used on land.

The 250 kWe pilot plant will be built in west Norway, and the test period will run until 2005.

The technology is based on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) burning gas at high temperatures to reduce emissions of NO2. The SOFC is able to fully extract the CO2 from the exhaust, which can be used as injection into oil wells or for other industrial projects.

Shell said the test station will show whether costs for the technology can be cut to a profitable level for commercial use. Terje Jonassen, a spokesman for Shell’s Norwegian unit, said: “The technology is not profitable today as prices on fuel cells are high, but we expect costs to fall as they are produced in larger quantities.”