Poland's ZAK pulls out of zero-emission plant joint venture

18 July 2011 16:03  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Poland's Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn (ZAK) has withdrawn from the joint venture for the construction of Kedzierzyn zero-emission power and chemical complex, citing uncertain prospects for profitability, the company said on Monday.

The estimated cost of the complex, at more than zlotych (Zl) 6bn ($2.11bn, €1.5bn), was seen as too high given the project's likely returns, ZAK added.

Its joint venture partner, Polish power company Poludniowy Koncern Energetyczny, is now reviewing the future of the project.

If realised, the innovative facility would utilise carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, and produce synthesis gas from the gasification of hard coal.

The synthesis gas would then be used to generate heat and power, with 23% of carbon dioxide emissions stemming from production being subsequently “trapped” in methanol, urea and other chemical products to be made at the complex.

Another 69% of emissions would be buried deep underground in porous rock.

ZAK, which became part of Poland's Zaklady Azoty Tarnow (ZAT), was set to become Poland's first producer of methanol on an industrial scale through its participation in the project.

European investors' enthusiasm for CCS projects has been cooled by various analyses, including one carried out in September 2010 by the German Institute for Economic Research, which concluded that contrary to earlier hopes, CCS had turned out to be "very uncertain and very expensive" – and was not likely to become a viable option for German or European industries.

($1 = Zl2.84, €1 = Zl4.02)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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