Alstom to Develop CCS Project at Europe’s Largest Thermal Power Plant

Alstom and Polish company PGE Elektrownia Belchatow S.A. on Monday announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop and implement carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at the 4,440-MW Belchatow power plant in Poland—Europe’s largest conventional power station.

In the first phase of the Polish project, Alstom will design and construct a pilot carbon capture plant at the existing Unit 12 of the coal-fired Belchatow power plant. The company expects the demonstration could capture approximately 100,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide (CO2) using Alstom’s advanced amine technology. The pilot will be jointly operated by Alstom and Elektrownia Belchatow and is expected to be operational by mid-2011.

During the second phase, Alstom and PGE plan to build a larger CCS project to capture CO2 produced by the new 858-MW, lignite-fired unit currently being built by Alstom for Elektrownia BeÅ‚chatów. According to an Alstom document published last year, this extension will be the largest generating unit ever built in Poland—and with an efficiency of 42%, also the most efficient. That plant will be in operation by 2015.

Lignite and hard coal are mainstays of the Polish power generation sector, and the reduction in CO2 emissions resulting from the Belchatow CCS project would be higher than 1 million tons per year, Alstom anticipates.

Alstom’s advanced amine-based scrubbing technology is being developed in collaboration with major amine producer The Dow Chemical Co. It expects that this new process will offer significant reductions in the amount of energy required for CO2 separation and capture compared to using standard amines.

The company is also currently evaluating other carbon capture technologies, such as its chilled ammonia process and oxy-firing technologies at various sites around the world (see POWER, February 2008, “Alstom’s chilled ammonia CO2 capture process advances toward commercialization” for technical details of the process.) Alstom has technology test agreements, for example, with American Electric Power, Norway’s Statoil, Sweden’s Vattenfall, and Germany’s E.ON. Alstom will also by the end of 2008 have started operations at three carbon capture pilot projects with the Electric Power Research Institute and We Energies in Wisconsin, E.ON in Sweden, and Vattenfall in Germany.

The Belchatow CCS initiative is one of the candidate projects to the European Union Flagship Programme for Carbon Capture and Storage.

PGE’s plant, consisting of 12 units, each with a capacity of 370 MW, started operation in the early 1980s. In 1997, the station began a modernization program, which added 120 MW to the installed capacity and put the plant on par with European Union standards. According to Alstom, the power station is the cheapest and the most efficient power producer in the Poland. With 28 TWh of energy generation, it produces 20% of the country’s power.

Source: Alstom

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