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SSE unveil plans for the UK’s biggest carbon capture trial

Oilfield Technology,

Scottish and Southern Energy plc (SSE) is set to submit a planning application to develop the UK’s biggest carbon capture trial facility.  

The £21 million trial, which will be held at its Ferrybridge coal-fired power plant, near Castleford, Yorkshire, England, will concentrate on the carbon capture aspect of CCS technology – rather than the storage. Construction work is planned for next year, and it is hoped that the trial will begin in 2011, running until the end of 2012.

Realising the potential 
SSE claim that the project, which is equivalent to 5 MW of coal-fired power generating capacity producing 100 t of CO2/day, will “bridge the gap between the various laboratory-scale trials that are under way and the larger-scale projects envisaged by the UK Government”. 

The company believe that the project is significant because of “its scale and its ability to demonstrate the operational characteristics of [a] capture plant on an actual power station and the performance of the amine compound on real flue gas.” 

Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, said “The development of the UK’s largest carbon capture demonstration plant at Ferrybridge will be a major step forward in realising the undoubted potential of CCS technology”. 

The trial will be carried out in collaboration with Doosan Babcock and other partners. Ian Miller, CEO of Doosan Babcock said that he was pleased to co-operate: “The project will help the Government achieve its twin goals – accelerating the proving of CCS and creating jobs and economic opportunities for UK-based companies”. 

Carbon capture ready   
The UK Government announced in April that all new combustion power plants over 300 MW in England and Wales must be designed ‘carbon capture ready’ to fit CCS technology. 

Although agreeing that no new coal-fired power plant should be built without full COabatement, Marchant also announced his belief that any plant without the abatement should not be allowed to operate beyond 2030. He said: “The attention being focused on next month’s Copenhagen Climate Summit is justifiable but there is also an onus on organisations, companies and individuals to take their own action, and progressing carbon capture technologies and placing a time limit on the operation of coal-fired power [plants] comes into that category.” SSE also supports the world’s largest demonstration of oxyfuel combustion capture technology in Renfrew, Scotland. Here, coal is combusted in a mixture of oxygen and re-circulated flue gas, which produces almost pure CO2 that can be captured and stored. The company are also looking into the possibility of developing another demonstration project where a gasification plant will convert coal into hydrogen (used for power generation) and CO2 (which can be stored).

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