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CO2 Emissions alstrom_co2_capture

Published on October 9th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

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90% of Coal Plant CO2 Captured in 12-Month Test

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October 9th, 2009 by
 

One year ago the French company Alstom began a year-long US test of capturing CO2 from the water+carbon-dioxide mix created using their chilled-ammonia technology, in the smokestack of the Pleasant Prairie Power Plant in Wisconsin.

[social_buttons] This week the year’s results were announced. The years average CO2 capture rate was 90%, according to a joint announcement from the EPRI, We Energies and Alstom to the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The 12-month test was just completed after running 24 hours a day on a small sectioned-off portion of the smokestack; working on just 5% of the plants total emissions.

But the test is scalable, and the Electric Power Research Institute, the R&D arm of the utility industry, is optimistic that chilled-ammonia technology will work on a larger scale. It is one of several carbon-capture technologies under consideration as we move to a carbon constrained world.

Next, Alstom will work with AEP in Columbus, Ohio to test a scaled-up version of the technology at the Mountaineer power plant in West Virginia.  That test takes the next step as well; not just capturing the carbon dioxide but burying it 8,000 feet beneath the plant site.

Alstom’s chilled ammonia process results in a lower energy cost for capturing CO2 than other techniques under consideration so far. Initial studies currently estimate the average energy penalty at around 20-25% of net boiler output. Alstrom is also working on a technique for capturing carbon dioxide emissions from a gas plant.

The economics is an issue. Even a 20% energy penalty in an industry that is already only 35% efficient in producing kilowatt-hours from coal is costly. Much work is needed, and open minds on all sides of this debate.

Coal power plants comprise about half of the 7,500 carbon dioxide sources that would fall under the Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act jurisdiction. Cement makers and oil and gas pipelines comprise most of the remainder.

Image: Alstom

Source: Thomas Content: Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • YOUR MOM!!!

    ohk you peeps are nerds :P :* haha!!!!!

  • marty

    I think it’s great if we can figure out ways to take CO2 out of the atmosphere, but using CCS technology to justify the construction of new fossil fuel based power plants is foolish.

    further, for the shear volume of CO2 we’re talking about, there’d be an incredible transport issue. basic chemistry will tell you that for every ton of carbon that goes into the plant (in the form of coal or gas) will have to come out as oxygen from the atmosphere added to it (more mass!).

    right now the most brilliant idea I’ve seen to deal with large amounts of solid CO2 is to make giant missles out of it and shoot them to the ocean. building-sized CO2 rockets, every 10 minutes, ad infinitum… to deal with all the CO2 we put out.

    clearly, we need to stop producing CO2, first and foremost. this technology might help to undue some of the damage we’ve already done.

  • marty

    I think it’s great if we can figure out ways to take CO2 out of the atmosphere, but using CCS technology to justify the construction of new fossil fuel based power plants is foolish.

    further, for the shear volume of CO2 we’re talking about, there’d be an incredible transport issue. basic chemistry will tell you that for every ton of carbon that goes into the plant (in the form of coal or gas) will have to come out as oxygen from the atmosphere added to it (more mass!).

    right now the most brilliant idea I’ve seen to deal with large amounts of solid CO2 is to make giant missles out of it and shoot them to the ocean. building-sized CO2 rockets, every 10 minutes, ad infinitum… to deal with all the CO2 we put out.

    clearly, we need to stop producing CO2, first and foremost. this technology might help to undue some of the damage we’ve already done.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Tom, um, no. You are not thinking carefully. The test was on a SEPARATED portion of the emissions.

    If you could do an initial test on the ENTIRE smokestack output, the test would be a impractically gigantic investment, and never get done.

    So you section off a tiny fraction (5%) and test capturing that CO2 in that smokestack portion. They captured 90% of it.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Tom, um, no. You are not thinking carefully. The test was on a SEPARATED portion of the emissions.

    If you could do an initial test on the ENTIRE smokestack output, the test would be a impractically gigantic investment, and never get done.

    So you section off a tiny fraction (5%) and test capturing that CO2 in that smokestack portion. They captured 90% of it.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Tom, um, no. You are not thinking carefully. The test was on a SEPARATED portion of the emissions.

    If you could do an initial test on the ENTIRE smokestack output, the test would be a impractically gigantic investment, and never get done.

    So you section off a tiny fraction (5%) and test capturing that CO2 in that smokestack portion. They captured 90% of it.

  • MD

    anhydrous ammonia – sure it can be dangerous, what isn’t? Even too much water can kill you!

    I’m in a huge farming area and there is literally tons of the stuff around here – it’s fertilizer!

    Since it’s Canadian Thanksgiving I’ll lend this link too, a car powered by anhydrous ammonia, Canada 1981…

    CBC – The National – anhydrous ammonia powered car.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0hBAz6MxC4

  • MD

    anhydrous ammonia – sure it can be dangerous, what isn’t? Even too much water can kill you!

    I’m in a huge farming area and there is literally tons of the stuff around here – it’s fertilizer!

    Since it’s Canadian Thanksgiving I’ll lend this link too, a car powered by anhydrous ammonia, Canada 1981…

    CBC – The National – anhydrous ammonia powered car.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0hBAz6MxC4

  • MD

    anhydrous ammonia – sure it can be dangerous, what isn’t? Even too much water can kill you!

    I’m in a huge farming area and there is literally tons of the stuff around here – it’s fertilizer!

    Since it’s Canadian Thanksgiving I’ll lend this link too, a car powered by anhydrous ammonia, Canada 1981…

    CBC – The National – anhydrous ammonia powered car.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0hBAz6MxC4

  • http://www.clrlight.org Tom Blakeslee

    The headline is a complete fraud. The test captured 90% of 5% of the output.

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/business/63722982.html

    Carbon Capture and Storage works fine for tiny amounts but the scale is being ignored like the elephant under the living room rug.

    Beijing has a similar fake “clean coal” plant.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/01/beijings-showcase-clean-coal-power-plant-54316

  • http://www.clrlight.org Tom Blakeslee

    The headline is a complete fraud. The test captured 90% of 5% of the output.

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/business/63722982.html

    Carbon Capture and Storage works fine for tiny amounts but the scale is being ignored like the elephant under the living room rug.

    Beijing has a similar fake “clean coal” plant.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/01/beijings-showcase-clean-coal-power-plant-54316

  • Calamity Jean

    This is great news for wind power. If capturing CO2 uses 20% of the energy produced by burning coal, it raises the cost of the resultant electricity high enough to make wind power cheaper.

    Since I’m a big fan of wind power, I’m totally delighted. We can expect to see wind turbines being installed in many more rural areas.

  • Calamity Jean

    This is great news for wind power. If capturing CO2 uses 20% of the energy produced by burning coal, it raises the cost of the resultant electricity high enough to make wind power cheaper.

    Since I’m a big fan of wind power, I’m totally delighted. We can expect to see wind turbines being installed in many more rural areas.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Crosius, agreed on sustainable power.

    It’s news though, that carbon capture turned out to be doable. So it makes it crucial that we don’t allow coal plants to avoid carbon capture retrofitting now that it’s possible. Just common sense.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Crosius, agreed on sustainable power.

    It’s news though, that carbon capture turned out to be doable. So it makes it crucial that we don’t allow coal plants to avoid carbon capture retrofitting now that it’s possible. Just common sense.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Thanks, fixed, and you have a great site, why don’t you write here? One thing, though about your coverage: this is successful capture only; the next test is capture AND store CO2.

  • Crosius

    That’s one emission captured (but no proof the sequestration technology will work), but there’s still all that soot and toxin-contaminated ash to deal with. Also, anhydrous ammonia is a poisonous gas at standard T&P. It’s used to refrigerate skating rinks but is so toxic they evacuate the arena if they detect a pinhole leak.

    Given the recent pond failures at US coal plants, I have my doubts that combining a toxic effluent pond, a storage chamber full of asphyxiating gas and a cooling system full of toxic ammonia will make a coal plant a _safer_ thing to have near a community.

    My definition of sustainable power includes the requirement that it can’t have a containment breach and wipe out an ecosystem overnight.

  • Crosius

    That’s one emission captured (but no proof the sequestration technology will work), but there’s still all that soot and toxin-contaminated ash to deal with. Also, anhydrous ammonia is a poisonous gas at standard T&P. It’s used to refrigerate skating rinks but is so toxic they evacuate the arena if they detect a pinhole leak.

    Given the recent pond failures at US coal plants, I have my doubts that combining a toxic effluent pond, a storage chamber full of asphyxiating gas and a cooling system full of toxic ammonia will make a coal plant a _safer_ thing to have near a community.

    My definition of sustainable power includes the requirement that it can’t have a containment breach and wipe out an ecosystem overnight.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Crosius, agreed on sustainable power.

    It’s news though, that carbon capture turned out to be doable. So it makes it crucial that we don’t allow coal plants to avoid carbon capture retrofitting now that it’s possible. Just common sense.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Thanks, fixed, and you have a great site, why don’t you write here? One thing, though about your coverage: this is successful capture only; the next test is capture AND store CO2.

  • http://www.elrst.com Edouard Stenger

    Fantastic news ! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    However there is a typo in your article as it is Alstom and not Alstrom.

    Keep up the good work !

  • http://www.elrst.com Edouard Stenger

    Fantastic news ! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    However there is a typo in your article as it is Alstom and not Alstrom.

    Keep up the good work !

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