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We are looking into the possibilities of using CO2 as a source of carbon in order to provide an alternative to petroleum-based products for energy conversion and for chemical intermediates. RWE Power is cooperating with partners from industry and research institutes to further develop various avenues of carbon capture and usage (CCU) of CO2 with subsequent development of them wherever possible. Alongside further research into conventional power-plant engineering, we have also bundled relevant activities in Germany into our ‘Innovationszentrum Kohle’ (Coal Innovation Centre) at our Niederaußen power plant site near Cologne. In the summer of 2012, this was awarded the title of ‘Ort des Fortschritts’ (Location of Progress) by the State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia. We also started up a plant for separation of CO2 from flue gas at Aberthaw in Wales.
Another project is the ‘ZeroCarbFP’ Innovation Alliance coordinated by RWE Power, which won a funding tender from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in June 2012. ZeroCarbFP is looking for new ways of manufacturing valuable products from carbon-rich recycled waste using microorganisms. This type of recycled waste includes flue-gas from coal-fired power stations. Experts from RWE Power and our cooperation partner Brain AG working at the Coal Innovation Centre have already identified a number of microorganisms that are particularly efficient at taking up CO2 and have outstanding growth potential. There are now 21 companies in the innovation alliance.
Since 2010, we have also been exploring the use of CO2 as a material for chemical intermediate products in the ‘CO2RRECT’ project (CO2 Reaction using Regenerative Energies and Catalytic Technologies). The project will be completed in autumn 2013.