EPRI to Study Adding Carbon Capture to Coal Power Plants

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) announced on Jan. 27 that five electric utilities in the United States and Canada have joined EPRI to host studies of the impacts of retrofitting advanced amine-based post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology to existing coal-fired power plants.

In addition to the five host site companies, 15 other companies and organizations, including six from Canada and one from Australia, have joined the project.

The five host companies and sites include Edison Mission Group's 1,536-megawatt (MW) Powerton Station, operated by Midwest Generation, in Pekin, Ill.; Great River Energy's 1,100-MW Coal Creek Station in Underwood North Dakota; Nova Scotia Power's two 160-MW units at its Lingan Generating Station in Lingan, Nova Scotia; Intermountain Power Agency's 950-MW Intermountain Generation Station in Delta, Utah, and the 176-MW circulating fluidized bed boiler Unit 1 at FirstEnergy's Bay Shore Plant in Oregon, Ohio.

As global demand for electricity increases and regulators worldwide look at ways to reduce CO2 emissions, post-combustion capture (PCC) for both new and existing units could be an important option. However, retrofit of PCC to an existing plant presents significant challenges, including limited space for new plant equipment, limited heat available for process integration, additional cooling water requirements, and potential steam turbine modifications.

"EPRI's analyses have shown carbon capture and storage will be an essential part of the solution if we are to achieve meaningful CO2 emissions reductions at a cost that can be accommodated by our economy," said Bryan Hannegan, vice president of Generation and Environment at EPRI. "Projects such as this, in which a number of utility companies come forward to offer their facilities and form a collaborative to share the costs of research, are critical to establishing real momentum for the technologies that we will need."

Each site offers a unique combination of unit sizes and ages, existing and planned emissions controls, fuel types, steam conditions, boilers, turbines, cooling systems, and options for CO2 storage. The variety of data from the studies will provide the participants with valuable information applicable to their own individual power generating assets.

EPRI's CoalFleet for Tomorrow® program already is conducting technical and economic assessments of ways to reduce CO2 emissions in new, advanced coal-based generation. This new program will apply that knowledge to assess the suitability of retrofitting advanced amine PCC to plants currently in operation and to guide the design of plants under development.

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