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CCS hopes revived as Drax set to start pilot by 2018-2020

13 Dec 2013 18:15:47 | edcm

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One of the biggest emitters in the UK carbon market could start capturing and storing carbon in the last years of phase III, having got state funding.

The project would be located at the site of Drax, the UK’s largest coal-fired power station and would capture 90% of emissions from a new unit, or around 2 million tonnes CO2 equivalent a year.

That equates to around a fifth of Drax emissions in the first half of 2013, which stood at 10.2m tonnes of CO2.

Stuart Haszeldine, director of Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) said he would expect the first CO2 capture at the site around 2018-2020.

The 426MW White Rose clean coal-fired power unit – also involving French manufacturer Alstom, UK-based specialist engineering firm BOC and transmission system operator National Grid – is the first project to receive funding under the UK government’s £1bn (€1.2bn) CCS commercialisation programme.

The UK Energy and Climate Change minister, Edward Davey, on 9 December said that deployment of up to 12GW of CCS-equipped fossil-fuel fired power generation capacity could occur across the UK by 2030, rising to 40GW by 2050.

This has revived hopes that CCS technology will start to play a part in European action on climate change. Earlier plans to launch commercially viable project have failed, with the EU failing an earlier target to have around 15 pilot projects up and running by now. Norway had intentions for a CCS project, but scrapped its plans in September ( see EDEM 23 September 2013 ).

It will take time for widespread deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at coal-fired power plants to reduce demand for EU emissions allowances (EUAs).

To reach the government target of 12GW by 2030 would take around 15 projects, a spokeswoman from UK-based lobby group Carbon Capture & Storage Association (CCSA) said on Friday.

At the early CCS testing stage, the emission reductions would be too small to push down the EU ETS price, Vivian Scott, policy research associate at Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) said on Friday.

Given the technology and storage capacity both exist, it is feasible for the UK to roll out CCS technology to 12GW of plant by 2030, Scott said. The UK has a positive environment for CCS development with a carbon floor price, government funding for CCS and a contracts for difference mechanism – a guaranteed electricity generation price for power producers.

But the 2030 target would still depend on other companies launching pilot projects during White Rose testing phase, Scott added.

Another CCS project in the UK is still on the cards.

“Negotiations on the Peterhead CCS Project are still under way. They are progressing positively and we hope to make a further announcement on their outcome shortly,” the department of energy and climate change said in a statement on Monday. Ben Lee


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