RWE, Shell launch integrated sulfur, carbon capture plant at UK power station

RWE npower and Shell-owned Cansolv Technologies have successfully commenced operations at the world’s first integrated sulphur dioxide (SO2)/carbon dioxide (CO2) capture plant, the firms said Thursday.

RWE captured the first tonne of CO2 at the joint demonstration plant at Aberthaw Power Station in the UK.

The post-combustion plant will capture 50 tpd of CO2 from Aberthaw’s flue gases -- the amount produced by 3 megawatts of electricity generation -- using Cansolv’s SO2 and CO2 scrubbing technologies.

The announcement of ‘first capture’ highlights the successful commissioning of the ground-breaking regenerable carbon capture testing campaign, which will see 90% of CO2 captured and essentially all SO2 captured.

The use of a regenerable technology can also avoid landfill produced from conventional non-regenerable systems in reusing the absorbent by recycling it through the system over and over again, resulting in less waste and cost savings without the need to restock.

“This is a significant milestone for Cansolv as it’s a clear demonstration of our innovative and cutting-edge carbon capture technology," said Philippe Gauthier, president of Cansolv. 

"We pride ourselves in being a company of firsts and we’re proud to be partnered with RWE npower on this landmark project in Wales.”

Cansolv and RWE npower say they will now initiate a research and development program focused on further optimization of the process and demonstrating the advantages of new generation solvents.

The environmental performance of the process will also be assessed during the pilot phase, at which time Cansolv and RWE npower will be working with the UK Environment Agency to track and evaluate the environmental aspects of carbon capture technology, in this case for coal-fired power stations.

This work will keep Cansolv at the forefront by continually improving the efficiency and economics of CO2 and SO2 capture both for coal and gas power applications.

The project, co-funded by Cansolv and RWE npower, will test the technology’s ability to adapt to the variable operation of UK-based fossil fuel fired power plants. In addition, it will provide an opportunity to test a new generation of solvents and SO2 solvent enhancements, according to the company.

The Cansolv technology is a highly flexible and robust system which uses regenerable amines to capture CO2 and SO2. It is applicable to a broad range of industrial applications, in addition to power plant flue gases worldwide.

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