BP and Powerspan Collaborate to Demonstrate and Commercialize CO2 Capture Technology for Coal-Fired Power Plants
|A NETL evaluation of an aqueous ammonia solution developed in cooperation with Powerspan found that integrated multi-pollutant reduction (Case 5) improves the cost picture without an efficiency penalty. Click to enlarge. Data: NETL|
BP Alternative Energy and Powerspan Corp. are working together to develop and commercialize Powerspan’s ammonia-based carbon dioxide capture technology, called ECO2, for coal-fired power plants. The post-combustion CO2 capture process is suitable for retrofit to the existing coal-fired, electric generating fleet as well as for new coal-fired plants.
The scope of the agreement includes financial and technical support for pilot demonstration and commercial scale-up activities, which may include joint development of large-scale demonstration projects that would capture CO2 from power station flue gas. The captured CO2 would be sent for long-term storage deep underground.
The ECO2 removal process readily integrates with Powerspan’s Electro-Catalytic Oxidation (ECO) technology, which uses aqueous ammonia to absorb high levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury. The CO2 processing steps are situated downstream of ECO’s SO2, NOx, and mercury removal steps.
According to research conducted by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and others on the use of aqueous ammonia for absorption of CO2, the traditional monoethanolamine (MEA) process for CO2 removal suffers from low CO2 loading capacity (kg CO2 absorbed per kg absorbent); high equipment corrosion rate; amine degradation by other flue gas constituents, which requires a high absorbent makeup rate; and high energy consumption during absorbent regeneration.
By comparison, aqueous ammonia processing has higher loading capacity; does not pose a corrosion problem; does not degrade in a flue gas environment, minimizing absorbent makeup; requires much less energy to regenerate; and costs much less than MEA.
Specifically, testing by NETL of an aqueous ammonia process developed with Powerspan found the following four advantages of the aqueous ammonia process compared to conventional amines:
Reduced steam load (500 Btu per lb of CO2 captured);
More concentrated CO2 carrier;
Lower chemical cost; and
Multi-pollutant control with salable by-products.
We consider Powerspan’s ECO2 technology among the most promising solutions for post combustion capture of CO2. This is an opportunity for BP to broaden the scope of our low carbon power offering by including a CO2 capture technology that is compatible with new and existing coal-fired power stations. The priority in our collaboration with Powerspan is to successfully demonstrate the technology and advance it to full-scale commercial deployment as rapidly as possible.—Jonathan Forsyth, CO2Capture Team Leader, BP Alternative Energy
Pilot scale testing of ECO2 technology is expected to begin at FirstEnergy Corp.’s R.E. Burger plant in Shadyside, Ohio, in early 2008. The ECO2 pilot unit will process a 1-megawatt (MW) slipstream (20 tons of CO2/day) from the 50-MW Burger ECO unit.
The plan is to provide the captured CO2 for sequestration on-site in an 8,000-foot test well drilled at the Burger plant earlier this year. FirstEnergy is collaborating with the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership on the sequestration test project. The Burger pilot program could be the first such program to demonstrate both CO2 capture and sequestration at a conventional coal-fired power plant.
The ECO2 pilot program provides the opportunity to confirm process design and cost estimates. Initial estimates developed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) indicate that the ammonia-based CO2 capture process could provide significant savings compared to commercially available amine-based CO2 capture technologies.
In June, Alstom signed two development contracts for its chilled ammonia-based CO2 capture technology, one with E.ON for a power plant in Sweden, and one with Statoil for the Mongstad refinery in Norway. (Earlier post.)
In May, BP and Rio Tinto formed a new jointly-owned company, Hydrogen Energy, which will develop “decarbonized” energy projects around the world. The venture will initially focus on hydrogen-fueled power generation, using fossil fuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. (Earlier post.)
Carbon Dioxide Capture from Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants (DOE/NETL-401/120106, December 2006)