On a larger scale, the North American coalfired generating industry has been scrambling for economically viable ways to retrofit existing infrastructure with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) solutions.Power producer TransAlta Corp. Recently announced it will partner with technology developer Alstom on a project to develop an extensive CCS facility in Alberta, Canada.
The company anticipates a reduction of CO2 emissions from its coal-fired plants of 1 million tons per year. Calgary-based TransAlta plans to pilot Alstom’s proprietary chilled ammonia process by 2012 at one of its coal-fired generating stations west of Edmonton. The first phase of the five-year project will begin this year. It aims to advance and improve understanding of CO2 capture and storage technology. The overall project is expected to cost$12 million.
TransAlta has also partnered with experts at the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, part of the University of Calgary,to quantify CO2 sequestration potential in the Wabamun area west of Edmonton. The results, due in January 2009, will provide a scientific assessment of potential sequestration sites in the area surrounding several power plants, including their capacity and security.
Alstom has signed contracts with several U.S. and European companies to test its CCS technologies. The first pilot project that uses chilled ammonia to capture CO2 from coal-fueled power plants was launched in late February this year at We Energies’ 1,224-MW Pleasant Prairie Power Plant in Wisconsin (see POWER, February 2008, p. 38 for a technical description of the pilot process).
The year-long demonstration project is a joint effort with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and We Energies. EPRI will conduct an engineering and environmental performance and cost analysis during the project. Alstom said that more than 20 organizations representing coal-fueled utilities in the U.S. are committed to project.