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EPRI and 5 Utilities to Study Adding Carbon Capture to Existing Coal Power Plants

28 January 2009

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and five electric utilities in the United States and Canada will study the impacts of retrofitting advanced amine-based post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology to existing coal-fired power plants. In addition to the five host site companies, 15 other companies and organizations, including six from Canada and one from Australia, have joined the project.

The five host companies and sites include Edison Mission Group’s 1,536-megawatt (MW) Powerton Station, operated by Midwest Generation, in Pekin, Ill.; Great River Energy’s 1,100-MW Coal Creek Station in Underwood North Dakota; Nova Scotia Power’s two 160-MW units at its Lingan Generating Station in Lingan, Nova Scotia; Intermountain Power Agency’s 950-MW Intermountain Generation Station in Delta, Utah, and the 176-MW circulating fluidized bed boiler Unit 1 at FirstEnergy’s Bay Shore Plant in Oregon, Ohio.

As global demand for electricity increases and regulators worldwide look at ways to reduce CO2 emissions, post-combustion capture (PCC) for both new and existing units could be an important option. However, retrofit of PCC to an existing plant presents significant challenges, including limited space for new plant equipment, limited heat available for process integration, additional cooling water requirements and potential steam turbine modifications.

EPRI’s analyses have shown carbon capture and storage will be an essential part of the solution if we are to achieve meaningful CO2 emissions reductions at a cost that can be accommodated by our economy. Projects such as this, in which a number of utility companies come forward to offer their facilities and form a collaborative to share the costs of research, are critical to establishing real momentum for the technologies that we will need.

—Bryan Hannegan, vice president of Generation and Environment at EPRI

Each site offers a unique combination of unit sizes and ages, existing and planned emissions controls, fuel types, steam conditions, boilers, turbines, cooling systems, and options for CO2 storage. The variety of data from the studies will provide the participants with valuable information applicable to their own individual power generating assets.

These five studies will be conducted in 2009 and a report for each site will:

  • Assess the most practical CO2 capture efficiency configuration based on site constraints;

  • Determine the space required for the CO2 capture technology and the interfaces with existing systems;

  • Estimate performance and costs for the PCC plant; and

  • Assess the features of each plant that materially affect the cost and feasibility of the retrofit.

EPRI’s CoalFleet for Tomorrow program already is conducting technical and economic assessments of ways to reduce CO2 emissions in new, advanced coal-based generation. This new program will apply that knowledge to assess the suitability of retrofitting advanced amine PCC to plants currently in operation and to guide the design of plants under development.

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Comments

At one time, because I agreed with their endorsement of electric drive, I thought of EPRI as a source of intelligent advocacy. Now I realise their endorsement of cleaner alternative transportation was so much hoodwinking; they don't care about the clean part except as an argument to make money. If they can make money poisoning the planet, then that's O.K., too.

Congratulations, EPRI, excellent 84-ing. (George Orwell, 1984, Newspeak, nevermind...)

The one good thing in these efforts is that they will show definitively that it is infeasible to capture and permanently sequester CO2 on the scale required to end global warming. Then we can get on with the real business of replacing coal with non-fossil energy sources. But of course the coal industry already knows that, so they will work to drag out and obfuscate these studies as long and as much as possible, just as the tobacco industry did with studies of smoking and health.

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