Groups Begin Test of Chilled-Ammonia CO2 Capture

The first pilot project that uses chilled ammonia to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fueled power plants was expected to start up in mid-March, according to Alstom, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and We Energies.

Alstom designed, constructed, and will operate the 1.7-megawatt system that captures CO2 from a portion of coal-fired boiler flue gas at We Energies’ Pleasant Prairie Power Plant, a 1,210-megawatt coal-fired generating station in Wisconsin. The process uses chilled ammonia to capture CO2 and isolates it in a highly concentrated, high-pressure form. In laboratory testing, the process demonstrated the potential to capture more than 90 percent of CO2 for less than other carbon capture technologies. Once captured, the CO2 can be used commercially or sequestered in suitable underground geologic sites.

"This pilot is a significant milestone in our ongoing partnership with We Energies and EPRI," said Jean-Michel Aubertin, senior vice president of Alstom's Energy and Environment Systems Group. "We Energies' operational expertise and EPRI's financial and research collaboration support are perfect complements to Alstom's leadership in CO2 capture research and development. This plant will provide invaluable information in leading to commercialization of CO2 capture technology."

The demonstration project will provide the opportunity to test the process on a larger scale and to evaluate its potential to remove CO2 while reducing the energy used in the process.

EPRI will conduct an engineering and environmental performance and cost analysis during the project, which will last at least one year. Through EPRI's collaborative research and development program, more than 30 organizations representing a large portion of the coal-fueled utilities in the United States have committed to support this project.

"We are very proud of the partnership with We Energies, Alstom and 35 other companies who worked together to advance this technology," said EPRI Senior Vice President Henry A. Courtright. "EPRI's R&D model is built on the idea that we can best achieve technological progress through collaboration. This is especially true in carbon capture, and other generating and efficiency technologies that must be part of our industry's climate strategy."

Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation and rail infrastructure We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and more than 1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. The Electric Power Research Institute conducts research and development on technology, operations, and the environment for the global electric power sector. EPRI is an independent nonprofit organization.

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