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The Warsaw Voice » Society » December 3, 2008
Environmentally - Friendly Energy
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EU Demonstration Programme for Carbon Capture and Storage
December 3, 2008   
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A critical solution for combating climate change is a wide-scale deployment of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technology. Without CCS, the EU's target to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 percent by 2050 is simply not achievable. In 2006, the European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants (ZEP) outlined the technology and deployment "roadmap" necessary to achieve this goal.

The Flagship Programme was presented for the first time in 2007. The programme was developed by ZEP experts-scientists, industry and environmentalists, united in their support for CCS as a key solution for combating climate change-within a portfolio of solutions, including renewable energies and energy efficiency.

The Flagship Programme is targeted at the development of 10-12 full-scale CCS demonstration projects integrating all aspects of CO2 capture, transport and storage-including technology, infrastructure, the environment, health and safety, legal and regulatory issues and funding. A Europe-wide network of demonstration plants should be operational by 2015 to ensure the strategic goal is met: to make CCS commercially viable for all new fossil fuel power plants by 2020.

The Flagship (Demonstration) Programme is essential in order to:
  • demonstrate the EU's commitment to delivering on its CO2 reduction targets and combating climate change;
  • kick-start the urgent wide-scale deployment of CCS in Europe;
  • ensure a diverse geographical and technological spread of projects;
  • prove that CCS works and is safe;
  • accelerate cost discovery and test fundability in order to build confidence in its widescale deployment post-2020;
  • accelerate projects with an international transport/storage element;
  • demonstrate Europe's leading edge technology and spur action by other countries, particularly large CO2 emitters, such as India, China and the United States;
  • maximize networking opportunities.


In 2008, ZEP has carried out an in-depth study into how such a demonstration programme could work in practice, from every perspective-technological, operational, geographical, political, economic and commercial-backed up by robust R&D activity. It is the most extensive study ever undertaken on the subject, anywhere in the world. As a result a list of specifications was developed for the technologies that require validation and integration within the CCS value chain. As it is not yet known which CCS technologies will prove the most successful; it is vital that the full range is tested-including higher-risk technologies-optimized across projects and locations. This includes the three main CO2 capture technologies (post-combustion, pre-combustion, oxy-fuel), two main options for CO2 storage (depleted oil & gas fields and different types of deep saline aquifers) and two main transport options (ship and pipeline) and improvement in plant efficiency (to compensate for losses due to the CO2 capture process). The selection criteria needed to meet the objectives of an EU Demonstration Programme were then defined and divided into:
  • Eligibility criteria which each project/party needs to satisfy in order for their proposal to be considered;
  • Portfolio criteria which must be met by the portfolio as a whole including all parts of the CCS value chain-from fuel types and CO2 capture technologies, to CO2 transportation and storage options as well as geographical spread of projects
  • Project criteria against which individual projects will be assessed addressing knowledge sharing, R&D, plant-wide efficiency, monitoring, commercial structures, costs, timing, international cooperation and the ability to accelerate deployment.


Andrzej Siemaszko, Government Group of European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants


Largest European CCS Project
The first step in mounting a CCS (carbon capture and storage) installation on the new 858 MW power unit at the PGE Elektrownia Bełchatów SA power plant will be to obtain "CCS Ready" status for the power unit. This will involve alterations in the unit's technological systems and adjustments of the development plan for the power unit. The next step will be construction of the project. In the "post-combustion" option, the project will include an installation for partial CO2removal from flue gases coming from the lignite-fired unit, a station to compress the captured, purified and dried CO2, transportation pipelines and underground storage room for CO2, complete with a monitoring station. Plans call for the installation to remove CO2 from up to one-third of the entire flue gas stream, totalling about 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The Alstom consortium is the contractor for the 858 MW power unit.

The CCS project will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will involve building a pilot CO2 capture installation on one of the present power units at the plant. The objective is to gather know-how and experience for the second phase, when a demonstration CO2 capture installation will be built on the 858 MW unit. The tentative work schedule for the first phase includes the design and construction of a pilot CO2 capture installation (advanced amine technology) with a CO2 removal capacity ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes per year, to be completed in 2009/2010. This will be followed by 6 to 12 months of tests and trial operation of the pilot CO2 installation.

The second phase includes the design and construction of a demo installation to capture CO2 from one-third of the entire flue gas stream from the 858 MW power unit. This phase will employ the technology tested in the pilot phase. The installation will be launched by the end of 2015.

At the same time, the Bełchatów power plant has been working with the Polish Geological Institute and the Central Mining Institute to gain full access to geological data and perform analyses regarding the storage of the captured CO2, conduct specialist research, and compile reports and documentation that are necessary to obtain permissions to start transporting and storing CO2. Four potential locations for CO2 storage have been identified relatively close to PGE Elektrownia Bełchatów (40-70 km). They are absorptive geological deposits near Sieradz, Wieluń and Łódź.

The storage space and the transportation pipeline designed for the demo installation at the Bełchatów plant need to be capable of further enlargement for the needs of other large CO2 emitters in the power plant's vicinity (the Cementownia Działoszyn cement mill) and in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region.


Polygeneration Power Plant-Demo Installation for ZEP Flagship Programme
The project aims to build a modern demo Polygeneration Power Plant to enable simultaneous production of clean electricity, heat and synthesis gas (syngas) for the chemical industry. The technology will include the production of synthetic fuels and sequestration of CO2 generated in the process. The combined heat and power generation, in conjunction with syngas produced from coal and up to 20 percent of biomass, will ensure high indicators of primary fuel energy utilization, low emissions, and high economic efficiency, even when sequestration costs are taken into consideration. The proposed project will be carried out by Południowy Koncern Energetyczny SA and Zakłady Azotowe Kędzierzyn SA.

The goal of the project is to restore the electric power and thermal output of the two companies and combine it with chemical technologies so that all climate protection requirements are met, while the power plant is still able to maintain high energy efficiency and achieve commercial goals.

The demo installation separates the carbon dioxide for sequestration in systems of syngas production (A) and electricity production (B, IGCC). Thanks to the application of CO conversion, chemical sequestration (product) and pre-combustion capture in the IGCC system, the technology enables high CO2 separation efficiency at a much lower cost than in post-combustion CO2 capture.


Prof. Jerzy Buzek, former Polish prime minister, a member of the European Parliament and its rapporteur on the development of energy technology in the European Union:

The European Union has set itself some ambitious environmental goals up to 2020: a 20-percent growth in energy efficiency, a 20-percent drop in carbon dioxide emissions, 20 percent of energy consumption to come from renewable sources, and 10 percent of motor vehicle fuel consumption to come from biofuels. This means a huge challenge for Poland.

I think that what could and should develop well in our conditions-as far as renewable energy is concerned-are biogas plants. Electricity from gas produced from plant waste-a fully renewable source-is a good option. The development of biogas facilities is also a huge opportunity for rural Poland, for farmers.

The best wind conditions are in coastal areas, and that's where wind farms will be set up. Solar energy in our climate can be and is used as a supplementary source of heat, but on a relatively small scale. Then there's geothermal energy. So far attempts to use geothermal energy have given little cause for optimism, though of course it should be utilized as much as possible, wherever possible.

However, this kind of production is dispersed and conducted on a small scale, or in the case of wind farms-a variable scale. Incorporating this energy into the whole system would require modification of the existing network or building a whole new intelligent power grid covering the entire country.

If Poland obtains 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 12 years' time, it will still have to produce the rest by other means. I don't think we can avoid the necessity of building nuclear power plants. From two nuclear power plants, we would obtain another 15 percent of energy for our overall balance-unless we focus on conservation because there is no doubt that we waste an exceptionally large amount of energy in Poland. Perhaps then we won't have to build nuclear reactors.

The remaining 70 percent will come from coal and coal only-our national treasure. We have to learn new, environmentally-friendly technologies for utilizing our coal resources. That's the most important thing for Poland. I am convinced that mastering clean coal technologies will allow Poland to maintain its energy independence and keep a relatively low price for energy.



Dr Andrzej Siemaszko, Director of the National Contact Point for Research Programmes of the EU in Poland

Global climate change is a serious environmental challenge that requires credible action. It is clear that coal will remain the backbone in the global supply of energy. To reduce emissions of CO2, we have to develop and implement Clean Coal Technologies such as coal gasification (for instance IGCC), improved and highly efficient combustion (such as oxy-fuel) and post-processing which can be accompanied by carbon capture and geological sequestration.

Poland is in a very specific situation since its production of electric energy is 96 percent dependent on hard coal and lignite. Poland has (some say unfortunately) become a focal point of European Energy-Climate Policy. The total cost of modernizing the power sector and building new power plants is estimated as 50 billion euros. For instance, the largest European single-source CO2 emitting power plant in Bełchatów (PGE) has announced a strategy for retrofitting existing units of 4,500 MWe and developing a new clean 858 MWe unit.

Having very rich coal deposits Poland wants to take a lead in developing and implementing other Clean Coal Technologies. There are plans for a pilot plant in Poland to demonstrate Underground Coal Gasification technology developed by Prof. Bohdan Żakiewicz. Southern Poland Power Company PKE together with Kędzierzyn Nitrogen Company ZAK have announced the construction of the first clean energy-carbochemistry complex in the EU with CCS producing both electric power and synthetic fuels and fertilizers. There is information that Puławy Nitrogen Company may follow suit. Production of synthetic fuels from coal would improve Polish security of energy supply with respect to imported oil and gas. Poland together with northern Germany have potentially the largest European on-shore deep saline aquifer reservoir suitable for CO2 sequestration in Mesozoic sediments. Recently, a national programme for defining the best sequestration sites has been launched.

Poland needs European support to manage all the challenges it is facing. If Poland succeeds in transforming its economy towards a low-emission one, it will be success for all of us: Poland, Europe and the whole world.


Piotr Kędzierski, Head of Communications at Vattenfall Poland:

The security of energy supply has been one of the most frequently debated topics these days, which is only natural because the price and availability of energy sources have an immediate effect on the economy.

Economic growth and prosperity are impossible without access to energy. At the same time, the impact of energy production on the environment is not just local, but global, which is something we began to fully realize only recently. Coupled with the simple truth that the deposits of fossil fuels will run out one day, the great interest in energy security comes as no surprise.

The definitions of security can differ in their scope, but I believe the security of energy supply deserves a broad definition that includes such notions as long-term and global effects on the climate. I am not entirely convinced by the claims that Poland should obstruct European efforts for climate protection in order to protect its own energy security. As far as the choice of methods to achieve this goal is concerned, we have to be tough in the negotiations, but a single-fuel energy sector based on coal is bound to encounter problems sooner or later. Coal is not a renewable energy source and not all coal deposits are fit for economically justified extraction. For the sake of its own energy security, Poland needs to seek new energy sources and develop clean coal technologies, as they are called. After all, coal as such is not a problem for the EU and the United Nations; it is the carbon dioxide generated during the process of burning coal that is the problem. Several months ago, Vattenfall launched the world's first installation for the research of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS).

The work on the CCS technology is in progress and might prove to be a chance to reconcile coal with the European and global objectives in climate protection. If pessimistic scenarios come true-and long-term threats have to be taken into consideration in issues of energy security-then global climate change may harm the Polish economy. For this reason, Poland's energy security needs broad consideration in a global perspective.


Piotr D. Moncarz
Consulting Professor, Stanford University, Corporate VP, Exponent Inc.

The world economy is in a downward spiral. Developed economies must offset high labor prices with technologically upgraded industrial structure and freedom from politically charged, expensive, imported energy.

Poland's energy situation is troubling. Once a major exporter of coal, the country is now a net importer. Most of Poland's electricity is from coal, a threat to its economy as the European Union begins to tax CO2 emissions. Two-thirds of Poland's natural gas comes from its eastern neighbors. All liquid fuels are imported.

The solution is in Underground Coal Gasification (UCG), an extraction of energy from underground coal without the mining operation. In a pyrolysis process the coal reacts with oxygen at a temperature hot enough for a reaction without incineration.

The Polish Laboratory of Rational Technologies, led by Dr. Bohdan Żakiewicz, with other Polish researchers and investors, is implementing UCG technology based on the Żakiewicz Method.

The key elements of the Żakiewicz Method are a vertical shaft at a level just above the coal seam, directional drilling tubes spread in a fan-like pattern in the seam over a 5-sq-km circle. Oxygen, water and CO2 are injected into this underground reactor and heat, synthetic fuel gases and hydrogen is extracted. No coal is left behind and up to 250 MW of electricity, synthetic fuel and hydrogen are obtained from one shelf.

The Żakiewicz Method positions Poland as a leader in the clean coal technology race while reducing its dependence on foreign energy and CO2 emissions. The opportunity requires Polish government support to the UCG researchers, entrepreneurs and investors. The UCG race winners will become technology exporters and clean energy leaders in the world.
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