Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Large scale carbon capture and storage gets closer with new appointments

Schematic diagram of how the CCS set-up will work which is based upon the former BP Peterhead concept
Schematic diagram of how the CCS set-up will work which is based upon the former BP Peterhead concept.

A crucial step has been taken in the development of what may be the U.K.'s first large scale Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project, with the appointment of Foster Wheeler Energy Limited (FWEL) as project management consultants of a £3 billion, 650MW (net) project at Hatfield.

The Don Valley Power Project, at Stainforth in South Yorkshire, expects to combine a coal gasification plant, with CO2 capture on all of the plant, with an integrated gas-fuelled combined cycle power station that is fired by a hydrogen-rich fuel.

It will potentially capture up to 97% of the carbon dioxide from its operation and its principal emission will be water vapour.

Planning permission for the power plant has already been granted, and main construction activities would start in 2013, provided the project wins financial support from the EU and UK government, for which it is currently competing. The plant would be commissioned in 2016.

This was the only UK project to win funding (€180 million) under the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) and is being assessed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for further EU funding under the New Entrants Reserve (NER300) programme, which is itself to be financed by the European Commission's satisfactory sale of 300 million EU allowances (EUAs) by the end of this year.

The appointment of Swiss company Foster Wheeler, a global engineering and construction contractor and power equipment supplier, has been made by 2Co Power (Yorkshire) Ltd. which is to design and construct the power station with pre-combustion carbon capture facilities.

Foster Wheeler's role will last until the plant comes into operation in 2016 and begin by helping 2Co Power (Yorkshire) to prepare an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the project build over the next six months.

Jonathan Briggs, Managing Director, 2Co Power (Yorkshire) Ltd said: “I firmly believe that the Don Valley Power Project is the UK’s most advanced and economic carbon capture and storage project.

"Foster Wheeler’s appointment will ensure we deliver this ground-breaking project on time to help create jobs, supply low carbon electricity to the region and help the UK meet its ambitious energy security and national carbon reduction commitments."

2Co Energy has also boosted its management team to take on the project with the addition of two leading carbon capture and storage experts, Jonathan Briggs and Graeme Miller.

Jonathan led the Hydrogen Energy joint venture between BP and Rio Tinto in California, and was responsible for managing the $2.5 billion carbon capture and storage project that is now under development by SCS Energy.

Graeme also worked on the Hydrogen Energy CCS project and previously worked on BP’s original Peterhead CCS project, which provides the technical blueprint for this one.

It is reckoned that the power station will employ over 2,000 people during the peak of construction and about 200 during operation.

The offshore part of the project is the responsibility of National Grid Carbon (NGC), an independent subsidiary of National Grid created to develop carbon dioxide transportation infrastructure in the UK, who are designing, building and operating the carbon transportation system and identifying potential offshore carbon storage sites in Southern North Sea.

This part should employ 800 workers during construction and 300 during operation.

Enhanced oil recovery

The Don Valley Power Project's unique business model centres on the vast CO2 storage and additional oil recovery potential under the North Sea, known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

2Co proposes to inject the CO2 into proven secure oil fields where it can tap reserves of oil that would otherwise be unrecoverable, and then store the CO2 permanently in the oil fields.

Three quarters of CCS projects throughout the world in operation or under construction are currently linked to EOR.

A major feasibility study is nearly completed on two North Sea oil fields that might be used for this purpose.

It is hoped that sale of the oil will not only substantially offset the costs of carbon capture but generate several billion pounds in Treasury revenue as well as extending the life of North Sea oil fields by up to 20 years and deferring substantial costs to UK government from its shared responsibility for decommissioning oil fields.

The Humber cluster effect

One of the key elements of why this project at Hatfield was selected by the EU for the EEPR funding is the potential for developing a pipeline to support a cluster of CCS plants in the Humber.

Such a cluster could potentially capture about 60 million tonnes of CO2 per year from this region.

The Humber area is one of five identified by National Grid Carbon for CCS because they contain the UK's highest CO2 emitting facilities. NGC thinks the Humber could become the largest CO2 capture volume region in Europe.

This is now the only project being taken forward by National Grid Carbon after the decision by the Department of Energy and Climate Change not to go ahead to the construction stage of the Longannet CCS demonstration project.

The Humber cluster includes a further 426MW oxy-fired carbon capture and storage project currently under development at the Drax power station in North Yorkshire with partners BOC and Alstom.

Both are applying for part of the £1bn funding from DECC's CCS Delivery Programme.

DECC held its first CCS Industry Day on 16 December 2011, which was attended by over 130 delegates; the next is to be on 22nd February, and the CCS Delivery Programme competition will launch in Spring 2012.

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