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Ferrybridge Power Station
It is fitting that the UK’s largest carbon capture pilot plant is located at Scottish & Southern Energy’s (SSE) Ferrybridge Power Station.
Why? Because Ferrybridge is the oldest 2000MW plant in the world.
Ferrybridge C is the third coal-fired power station to be built on the site since 1924. It was built in 1966, after some initial problems in 1965 when three of the cooling towers were blown over because of the high winds sparking a swift design improvement.
Cooling towers at the SSE Ferrybridge Station, which is situated on the River Aire in West Yorkshire. (Meade Harris)
Since then, Ferrybridge has been running steadily and continues to adapt and change with the times. That is why I went for a site tour last week to see the newest addition to the plant: the CCPilot100+.
You can see the size of the absorber and stripper in this picture, with the stack in the background. (Meade Harris)
The first thing you notice about this pilot is the size of it! As you can see in the pictures above and below. The CCPilot 100+ designed and built by Doosan Power Systems, launched in late November 2011 and has the capacity to capture 100 tonnes of CO2 per day from the equivalent of five megawatts (MWe) of coal-fired power generating capacity. Flue gas leaving the power station passes through a flue gas desulphurisation unit and is then contacted with the amine based solvent which absorbs the CO2. The CO2 rich solvent is then heated to drive off the CO2 and the solvent is recycled into the process. The project is a collaboration between SSE, Doosan Power Systems and Vattenfall, and is supported by the UK Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC), the Technology Strategy Board and Northern Way.
The Flue gas pipe as well as the clean CO2 pipe. (Meade Harris)
So why did SSE put this pilot on their coal-fired plant when they are interested in developing CCS on a large scale at their Peterhead Power station which is gas? I put this question to Jeremy Carey, the Technology Manager who took me around the station and works on both the Ferrybridge and Peterhead projects. Carey explained, "There are a couple of reasons that CCPilot100+ is a coal project but SSE's CCS focus is now on gas. Firstly CCPilot100+ is a collaboration – Doosan Power Systems hope to serve a global CCS market and it's clear that globally, coal CCS will be very important. Vattenfall were also more interested in coal CCS than gas CCS."
"Secondly, the rationale for new-build coal in the UK has deteriorated significantly between the conception of the CCPilot100+ project and today," he said. "This is partly due to increased global availability of natural gas, partly due to the public acceptance risk of new coal plants and partly due to the UK carbon floor price. Consequently SSE now expect gas CCS will have a much greater strategic value to UK consumers than coal CCS."
Located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the Peterhead project aims to design and develop a CCS system for capturing emissions after combustion at one of its existing three 385MW combined gas cycle turbines. The CO2 would then be transported to the Shell-operated Goldeneye gas field in the North Sea using, as much as possible, existing pipeline infrastructure. Shell U.K. and Petrofac subsidiary CO2 DeepStore may also be participating in the project by providing the offshore transport and storage elements of the proposal.
Location of the project. (SSE)
SSE hopes that the knowledge that is gained from the Ferrybridge Pilot can bring some insights to both the work they are doing on the Peterhead CCS project as well to the wider CCS community.
More information on both the Ferrybridge pilot as well as the Peterhead CCS project is available on the SSE site.
This post expresses the views of this author and not necessarily of their organisation or the Global CCS Institute.