Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Powerspan Corp. today announced the selection of Powerspan's carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology, called "ECO2(TM)," for a commercial demonstration at Basin Electric's Antelope Valley Station, a coal-based electrical generation facility located near Beulah, North Dakota. Approximately one million tons of CO2 will be captured annually from the 120 megawatt slipstream project, making this demonstration among the largest in the world.
ECO2 is a post-combustion, regenerative process, which uses an ammonia-based solution to capture CO2 from the flue gas of a power plant and release it in a form that is ready for further compression, safe transportation, and geological storage.
The demonstration will draw the equivalent of a 120 megawatt slipstream and will be designed to capture 90 percent of the incoming CO2. The captured CO2 would then be delivered by pipe to the existing compressor station at Dakota Gasification's adjacent Synfuels Plant and injected into Dakota Gasification's 205-mile pipeline system for delivery to Canada where it will be used in an EOR project.
The ECO2 process is a post-combustion CO2 capture process for conventional power plants that is differentiated from other approaches by its simpler capital equipment design and significantly lower energy consumption. The technology is suitable for retrofit to the existing coal-based, electric generating fleet as well as for new coal-based plants. The CO2 capture takes place after the nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury and fine particulate matter are captured. Once the CO2 is captured, the ammonia-based solution is regenerated to release CO2 and ammonia. The ammonia is recovered and sent back to the scrubbing process, and the CO2 is in a form that is ready for geological storage. Ammonia is not consumed in the scrubbing process, and no separate by-product is created.
Today's announcement is the result of the first competitive solicitation process for a CO2 capture demonstration at a coal-based power plant in the U.S. Six companies responded to the request for proposal. Powerspan's CO2 capture process was selected as the most promising low cost option for commercial deployment and for its ability to best integrate with Basin Electric's operations. The project is scheduled to move forward in 2009. The facility is expected to be operational in 2012.
This is a milestone in carbon capture technology, being the first demonstration of carbon capture on such a large scale in the U.S. Some utility companies are ahead of the curve on these tecnologies, seeing the writing on the wall, seeing regulations requiring carbon capture in the future. Only time will tell whether this is the best technology, but is much further advanced in devopment than some of the more recently announced technologies and thus fits in with power generation companies more conservative nature.