American Electric Power (AEP) last week said it would request federal funding from the Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative Round 3 to pay part of the costs of installing the nation’s first commercial-scale carbon dioxide capture and storage system on its Mountaineer coal-fired power plant in New Haven, W.Va.

AEP’s application will seek $334 million¬—about half the estimated cost of installing the system that will use a chilled ammonia process to capture at least 90% of the carbon dioxide from 235 MW of the plant’s 1,300 MW of capacity. The captured carbon dioxide, approximately 1.5 million metric tons per year, will be treated and compressed, then injected into suitable geologic formations for permanent storage approximately 1.5 miles below the surface, AEP said. The system will begin commercial operation in 2015, according to the company’s application for funding.

“Commercialization of carbon capture and storage technology is an essential component in a successful climate strategy for this nation, which relies on coal-fired generation for about half of its electricity supply,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Coal is a low-cost, abundant domestic fuel source, but its use is a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions.

“First-movers like AEP who push the commercialization of technology will face higher costs than those who wait for others to act, costs that would be borne by our customers,” Morris said. “But without efforts like ours, the availability of solutions for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants will be needlessly delayed. It’s an appropriate use of federal stimulus funds to spur the advancement of this technology and to offset the financial penalty facing our customers and our company for taking the initiative.”

For this commercial-scale project, AEP is forming a diverse technical advisory committee that includes recognized experts in the field of geologic carbon dioxide storage. This group will include participants from Schlumberger Limited, Battelle Memorial Institute, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Ohio State University, West Virginia University, The University of Texas, Ohio Geological Survey, CONSOL Energy, and the West Virginia Department of Commerce Division of Energy. Additionally, Schlumberger will work directly with AEP to design and deploy the carbon dioxide storage system at Mountaineer.

AEP and Alstom will begin operating a smaller-scale validation of the technology in September at the Mountaineer plant. That system will capture up to 90 percent of the carbon dioxide from a slipstream of flue gas equivalent to 20 megawatts of generating capacity. The captured carbon dioxide, more than 100,000 tons a year, will be compressed and injected into suitable geologic formations for permanent storage approximately 1.5 miles below the surface.

No federal funds are being used for the validation project.

Source: AEP