|RWE plans to build a CO2-free coal-fired power plant including CO2 storage – a global first
RWE intends to build the first large-scale power plant worldwide with integrated coal gasification, CO2 separation and CO2 storage. The coal-fired power plant with an expected gross output of around 450 MW could come on stream in 2014 if planning and implementation proceed smoothly.
Total investment volume for the power plant and the transport and storage of CO2 is estimated at approximately €1 billion. Apart from successful technical feasibility, this integrated project requires the necessary political framework conditions and authorisations as well as approval by the responsible Supervisory Boards within the RWE Group.
First concrete planning steps have already been initiated. The use of hard coal and the gasification of lignite are to be explored and tested in parallel. The results of the research will determine RWE’s decision in the second half of 2007 as to the primary energy source for the world’s first CO2-free power station and the plant’s site. Preference is given to lignite – one of Germany’s non-subsidised domestic energy sources.
RWE will also be breaking new ground by opening up an onshore CO2 depository. In this context, the company will be driving forward the development of criteria for evaluating the suitability of a depository in geological terms.
RWE is the only company that has the requisite know-how for this project in-house. RWE Power has the expertise for power plants and coal gasification while RWE Dea holds the fundamental knowledge relating to storage.
“The world’s first large-scale power station with integrated coal gasification, downstream CO2 separation and CO2 storage is not just a major step forward for advanced energy conversion that puts less strain on the climate. It also underscores our claim to technological leadership, particularly when it comes to coal-fired electricity generation. Ultimately, we will be the first company in our sector to realize this kind of project on an industrial scale,” according to Harry Roels, Chairman of the RWE AG’s Executive Board.
RWE already plans and constructs state-of-the-art power plants. For example, new technologies to achieve even higher levels of efficiency are currently being developed for the next power-plant generation to be constructed after 2010. The focus here is on lignite fluidized-bed drying. RWE is the world leader in this field. RWE is also testing high-temperature materials with a steam temperature of 700 degrees celsius, compared with today’s 605 degrees celsius.
Both techniques will increase the efficiency of lignite-fired power stations to more than 50 percent. In parallel to the large-scale power station with integrated carbon gasification, downstream CO2 separation and storage, RWE is currently also developing procedures for downstream CO2 scrubbing. If development is successful, this procedure could be used to upgrade existing power plants as well as being installed during the construction of new CO2-free steam power plants.
Power-plant portfolio Investments worth billions of euros
RWE intends to invest around €12 billion for power generation in Germany alone by 2020. At the company’s Neurath power facility, €2.2 billion will be channelled into construction of the second and third optimized units (BoA). A new coal-fired power plant in Hamm is also at the planning stage.
Alongside the conventional power-plant portfolio, investments amounting to €650 million are earmarked for expanding renewable energies over the coming five years across the RWE Group.
RWE will also be involved in worldwide projects aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, i.e. the Joint Implementation and Clean Development projects in countries where RWE can acquire emission allowance credits in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol.
“RWE is continuing to work towards a secure, cost-effective and environmentally compatible energy supply for the future. The Group’s strategy is to develop a broad energy mix utilising all available energy resources without excluding any energy source for ideological reasons. Within this mix, every primary energy source, including renewables, has its specific application and legitimate role to play,” said Harry Roels. “The dominant role of lignite and hard coal will continue to remain over the coming decades for reasons related to security of supply and competitiveness. We believe it is therefore all the more important to use the CO2-free power-plant project and efficiency-enhancing innovations to make this energy source even more environmentally friendly and efficient.”
RWE npower announces feasibility study for 1000MW 'Clean Coal' power station at Tilbury in Essex
RWE npower, one of the UK's leading electricity generators, today announced it is commencing a feasibility study into the construction of a 'clean coal' power plant at Tilbury on the Thames Estuary. The new 'carbon capture and storage' technology could be ready by 2016 and could reduce the station's carbon dioxide emissions levels by as much as 90% per year.
The study will look into 'supercritical' plant technology that improves the efficiency of the combustion process together with 'carbon capture' systems. This offers the potential to isolate and store CO2 produced during the combustion of fossil fuels. A key element of the study is to look at the transportation options and storage in geological formations (such as depleted oil reservoirs and depleted natural gas fields) to prevent it reaching the atmosphere.
The announcement follows proposals outlined last month (30 March) by parent company RWE to investigate the building of a €1bn CO2 free plant in Germany, subject to the necessary political framework conditions and authorisations.
The Tilbury study will look at the end-to-end process from planning and consent to transport and storage options. RWE npower will also use its testing facilities at Didcot in Oxfordshire to examine ways to improve combustion efficiency and develop the chemical processes for stripping out and capturing the carbon dioxide.
RWE npower today also submitted its response to the Government's Energy Review consultation and expressed a readiness to invest in a variety of low CO2 emitting forms of electricity generation, including offshore wind and new 'Combined Cycle' gas-fired power stations if the policy and regulatory environment is improved.
Andy Duff, CEO of RWE npower said, "The UK needs to maintain a broad mix of energy generation to guarantee secure electricity in the years ahead. We also need to dramatically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to hit environmental targets aimed at tackling global warming. Both these goals can be achieved by the energy industry under the current market framework provided the Government adopts a supportive approach to investment, streamlining regulatory processes and pump-priming advanced technologies."
RWE npower's Energy Review response also calls for:
• A redefinition of the Energy Efficiency Commitment (the obligation on suppliers to offer free and discounted energy efficiency products and services) to deliver reduced carbon dioxide emissions and allowing the incorporation of broader range of new technologies including microgeneration.
• Government support for an allocation period for Phase 3 of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) of at least 15 years - more closely aligned to investment cycles in large-scale generation technology.
• Retaining the Renewables Obligation (which requires suppliers to buy an increasing percent of their energy from renewable sources) as a long-term stable framework to continue to stimulate investment in new viable renewable energy generation.