Alstom sees results from Mountaineer carbon capture project

Pittsburgh, Pa., May 5, 2011 — At a prominent industry conference on carbon capture and sequestration, Alstom Power announced the successful operation of a chilled-ammonia CCS validation project at American Electric Power‘s Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, W.V.

The carbon capture project represents a successful scale-up of ten times the size of previous field pilots (WE Energies Pleasant Prairie, EON Karlshamn).

It achieved:

* Capture rates from 75 percent (design value) to as high as 90 percent,

* CO2 purity of greater than 99 percent,

* Energy penalties within a few percent of predictions from Alstom‘s process simulation model,

* CO2 injection levels of about 7,000 tons/month (the equivalent of taking 17,000 cars off the road)

* Robust steady-state operation during all modes of power plant operation including load changes,

* Availability of the CCS system greater than 90 percent.

All the achievements listed above have been confirmed during long-term, steady-state operation of the CCS validation plant.

The formal testing program for the validation project has now been successfully completed. Analysis of the operating results have validated the predictions of Alstom’s process simulation models in terms of energy penalties, CO2 capture rates and ammonia losses, providing further confidence in the robustness of the design for a large-scale demonstration project planned for Mountaineer that would have the ability to capture up to 1.5 million metric tons per year of CO2.

In addition, operating and performance feedback from the initial validation project have resulted in several design improvements that are incorporated into the next phase project at Mountaineer.

The first phase of the CO2 capture project, which began capturing CO2 in September, 2009 and started storing it in October, 2009, underwent mechanical and equipment modifications in the Fall of 2010 that contributed to the success of the project. The plant will continue to operate until June 30 with a focus on maximizing CO2 injection. 

AEP’s Mountaineer plant is a 1,300-MW coal-fired unit that was retrofitted in 2009 with Alstom’s patented chilled ammonia CO2 capture technology on a 20-MWe portion, or “slipstream,” of the plant’s exhaust “flue gas.”

The slipstream of flue gas is chilled and combined with a solution of ammonium carbonate, which absorbs the CO2 to create ammonium bicarbonate. The ammonium bicarbonate solution is then is pressurized and heated in a separate process to safely and efficiently produce a high-purity stream of CO2. The CO2 is being compressed and piped for storage into deep geologic formations, roughly 1.5 miles beneath the plant surface.

In all, Alstom has a total of nine validation projects operating or actively being developed to optimize the three major technologies it is pursuing: chilled ammonia, advanced amines, and oxy-firing.

The projects are taking place in Europe and North America, reinforcing Alstom’s standing as a global company committed to developing technology solutions that can be used around the world.

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