The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has joined American Electric Power (AEP) and Alstom in a validation of advanced carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technologies at AEP’s Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, W.Va. The $76 million project is being watched closely around the world because it will be the first to capture carbon dioxide from a pulverized coal-fired power plant as well as inject it into a permanent storage site more than 7,800 feet underground.

EPRI said on Tuesday that it plans to conduct independent evaluations of the carbon dioxide capture process and manage a collaborative of utility participants. The data collected and analyzed by the collaborative is expected to support efforts to advance CCS technologies to commercial scale and provide information to the public and industry on future advanced coal generation options.

AEP’s New Haven CCS project has made great strides—it will now reportedly be commissioned on Oct. 30. To date, a 20-MW capture system has been installed at AEP’s 1,300-MW coal-fired Mountaineer Plant, where it is expected to remove approximately 100,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually from the flue gas stream of the plant. The captured CO2 will be compressed and injected into two saline reservoirs located beneath the plant site.

The Mountaineer project will operate for up to five years and help validate the effectiveness of Alstom’s patented chilled ammonia process for carbon dioxide capture and the viability of storage in the local geology. The project has been hailed for its potential to provide the critical information that could scale up capture and storage technologies for new power plants and for retrofit of existing facilities.

“With centuries of domestic coal reserves and state and regional economies tied to coal as a fuel for electricity generation, we must focus attention and significant resources on advancing cleaner coal-fueled generation technologies including carbon dioxide capture and storage,” said Nicholas Akins, AEP executive vice president, generation. “At Mountaineer Plant, we are collaborating with some of the best technical minds in our industry—including Alstom, Battelle, RWE, and EPRI—to help advance this critical component of our nation’s and the world’s energy and environmental future.”

The chilled ammonia process may reduce parasitic loads on electric generators compared to other types of capture processes, resulting in lower carbon dioxide capture costs. A pilot-scale version is being tested by Alstom and EPRI at We Energies on a 1.7-MW slipstream from the utility’s Pleasant Prairie plant in Kenosha, Wis. EPRI said that project has yielded “favorable results,” adding that details will be available after Oct 8.

Source: EPRI, AEP, Alstom