Carbon capture milestone for British coal

UK-BASED power generator RWE npower has captured its first tonne of CO2 at a carbon capture-outfitted pilot plant in Wales.

Justin Niessner

The company is calling it a “significant milestone” for the Aberthaw power station, which expected to capture 50 tonnes of CO2 per day when commissioned.

RWE’s work with the Aberthaw station represents its new pan-European approach to management of its power plant feet across Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

By the end of 2013, it is expected Aberthaw will be the last of RWE’s current fleet operating on coal.

“This pilot plant at Aberthaw will provide invaluable data on the viability of capturing carbon at an industrial scale, and help RWE to better understand how this technology could be used to reduce carbon emissions at coal-fired power stations,” RWE’s UK head of hard coal and gas, Kevin Nix, said.

Test operations at the small 3-megawatt Aberthaw are hoped to allow RWE to optimize the performance of the technology, and use the facility to better understand the practical implications of operating a full-scale carbon capture plant.

The environmental performance of the process will also be assessed and evaluated.

RWE has invested $US5.6 billion in low-carbon projects in the UK in recent years. These include a $1.6 billion combined cycle gas turbine plant at Pembroke power station, which entered full commercial operation in September, and conversion of the Tilbury station in Essex from coal to 100% sustainable wood pellets in 2011.