Essen, 30 October 2009, 30 October 2009, RWE PowerThis pressinformation is more than two years old

Mountaineer: first power plant to separate and store carbon as developing plans jointly with RWE

  • Demonstration plant commissioned at New Haven / AEP and Alstom developing plans jointly with RWE

The first integrated carbon capture and storage plant (CCS) makes its world debut at a hard-coal-fired power station. At New Haven, West Virginia, a demonstration plant of 20 megawatts capacity was formally commissioned today. The plant will separate out more than 100,000 tons of carbon per year which will be transported via pipeline to deep saline formations, i.e. salt-water-bearing sandstone strata, for storage on site. American Electric Power (AEP), the USA’s leading electricity generating company, Alstom and RWE are developing the project jointly. For the project, which is being realised at AEP's 1,300 MW Mountaineer hard-coal-fired power plant, Alstom has developed the chilled ammonia process, which separates CO2 from flue gas after combustion.

“The project marks a milestone in climate-protecting CCS technology,” said Dr. Johannes Lambertz, CEO of RWE Power. “For the first time, we have gained experience from a large-scale trial along the whole process chain – from separation of carbon from flue gas to transport and storage.” Dr. Georg Schöning, CEO of RWE Dea, added, “This project is important for improving our understanding of the practical applications of CCS. Every solution which may help reduce CO2 emissions and protect our climate must be explored. The trial of CCS technology, and proof of its safety, are important preconditions to ensure the necessary public acceptance.”

In a smaller pilot plant in the US state of Wisconsin, operated by Alstom and the Electric Power Research Institute, the chilled ammonia separation technology has proven itself in the past 18 months. AEP and RWE are also participants in this project. Now the plan is to demonstrate the process’s commercial-scale viability at Mountaineer. If this proves successful, AEP also plans to deploy the chilled ammonia process in a much larger follow-on project. Around 1.5 million tons of carbon should then be separated out each year, which corresponds to a commercial-scale plant.

Demonstration plant to separate and store carbon
Demonstration plant to separate and store carbon

Site-specific testing of carbon storage potential has been ongoing in the United States since as long ago as 2002. Exploratory drills to a depth of around 2,740 metres, and seismic studies at the Mountaineer power plant site, have proven the location’s suitability for storing carbon in geological deep strata. The Battelle Memorial Institute, a scientific and technological company active worldwide, and a leader in carbon storage research, is advising on the geological aspects of storage, while RWE Dea contributes its expertise from the upstream and gas storage business.

“Together with our partners, we want to expand our technology lead in CO2 avoidance techniques,” declared Johannes Lambertz. “Conditions at the Mountaineer site are ideal for this.”

“Commercialisation of carbon capture and storage technology is an essential component in a successful climate strategy, not only for the United States, which relies on coal-fired generation for about half of its electricity supply, but also for coal-dependent nations around the world,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Coal is a low-cost, abundant fuel source, but its use is a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions. AEP, RWE and Alstom are known for engineering excellence and expertise. By working together we can find the best solution to this climate challenge.”
In late August of this year, RWE Power commissioned a pilot plant for carbon separation at its lignite-fired power plant site at Niederaussem, near Cologne. In cooperation with BASF and Linde,

AEP's 1,300 MW Mountaineer hard-coal-fired power plant, West Virginia
AEP's 1,300 MW Mountaineer hard-coal-fired power plant, West Virginia

RWE Power is testing an improved CO2 scrubbing process. This can be retrofitted to modern coal or gas-fired power plants from 2020. With an investment of €9 million, the project seeks to further develop a key technology of more climate-friendly electricity generation. Every hour, the Niederaussem pilot plant washes around 300 kilograms of CO2 from a slipstream of the power plant’s flue gas. The separation is 90 percent effective. The plant is testing all aspects of CO2 scrubbing under real conditions. Further research activities are investigating how to use the separated carbon dioxide.

Press inquiries:
Lothar Lambertz
RWE Power
Press Relations
T 0049-201-12 23984

Derek Mösche
Press Relations
T 0049-40-6375 2670

RWE is one of Europe’s five leading electricity and gas companies. The company is active in the generation, trading, transmission and supply of electricity and gas. RWE’s 72,000 employees supply 20 million customers with electricity and gas in Europe. In the first half of fiscal 2009, RWE recorded approximately €24 billion in revenue. Essent, which was recently acquired by RWE, recorded a turnover of €9 billion in 2008. RWE is currently running the biggest investment programme in its history, with an overall investment volume of over €32 billion by 2012, making it one of the largest investors in Europe. Energy from renewables plays a key role, with investments totalling €1bn per year. RWE Power is Germany's largest electricity generating company and responsible for
RWE Group's electricity generation on the European continent, including Germany and Central/Eastern Europe. RWE Dea is engaged in oil and natural gas exploration and production at an international level. The company has the latest drilling and extraction technologies at its disposal, and operates immense subterranean gas storage facilities in Germany. Within RWE Group, RWE Dea combines competence for carbon transport and storage.

American Electric Power, one of the largest energy suppliers in the United States, supplies more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP is one of America's biggest electricity generators, whose generation capacity exceeds 38,000 megawatts in the US. As a corporation, AEP also operates the country's largest power transmission system. The grid covers almost 39,000 miles and comprises more 765 kV high-voltage power lines than all the other US transmission grids put together. Directly or indirectly, AEP's transmission system meets around 10 percent of the electricity demand of the Eastern Interconnection, the transmission alliance which serves 38 states on the US Eastern seaboard, in the Mid-West, and in East Canada. It also meets around 11 percent of electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission grid serving much of Texas. AEP's supplier companies trade as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and East Texas). AEP's head office is in Columbus, Ohio. AEP's generation capacity in the USA exceeds 38,000 MW, 67 percent of which derives from hard coal and lignite.

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