Powerspan Corp., who develops and commercializes clean energy technologies for power companies, and FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), an electric power generation company, are cooperating to demonstrate both carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and sequestration at FirstEnergy's coal-fired power R.E. Burger Plant in Shadyside, OH.
Last week, FirstEnergy announced that it had been selected to test carbon sequestration by the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP), one of seven regional partnerships set up by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to research carbon sequestration projects throughout the country. The Burger Plant test project will involve geological site characterization to determine potential suitability for carbon sequestration in the area. If test results prove favorable, next steps involve obtaining permits required to drill a test well, followed by injection of a small amount of CO2 into the well.
Concurrently, Powerspan is developing a CO2 removal process, called "ECO2™", for coal-based power plants. This regenerative process uses an ammonia-based solution to capture CO2 in flue gas and prepare it for subsequent sequestration; after regeneration the ammonia solution is recycled to capture additional CO2. Powerspan has conducted initial laboratory testing at the company's research & development facility, with promising results. In September 2005, FirstEnergy announced plans to pilot test the CO2 capture process beginning in late 2006 at the Burger Plant.
"To our knowledge, this will be the first time that combined CO2 capture and sequestration from a conventional pulverized coal-fired power plant will be demonstrated in the U.S. If successfully proven, this technology could help keep existing coal-fired power plants economically competitive in a carbon-constrained world," said Frank Alix, chairman and CEO of Powerspan.
Powerspan has commercially demonstrated the ECO® process for criteria removal at the Burger plant, which also uses an ammonia system as part of its process, and is expected to be readily integrated with the "ECO2™" process.
In 2004 Powerspan licensed a promising technology, Photochemical Oxidation (PCO), from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), to capture and remove mercury from coal-fired power plants, the patented process uses ultraviolet light to oxidize and remove mercury. Powerspan initiated a laboratory and pilot test program to develop the PCO process for commercial application with subbituminous and lignite fuels. In April 2006, Powerspan and AmerenUE announced plans to pilot test the PCO process at the generating company's Rush Island Power Plant in Jefferson County, Missouri.
This is the type of technology that conventional coal powered plants are looking for to use for capture of their criteria pollutants as well as for carbon capture and sequestration. They are hoping that this technology will be less expensive than building IGCC plants. This technology can also be retrofitted into existing plants, which could make the requirement for lower emissions more economical for all plants. If this technology proves out, then as discussed in yesterdays post, the majority of plant operators will have made the right decision in going with conventional technology.
Powerspan CO2 Pilot Combined with FirstEnergy Carbon Sequestration Project Offers Unique Testing Opportunity, Press Release, May 30, 2006
Powerspan Corp., Portsmouth, NH