Aug 25, 2009

Science Scene - Carbon Capture, is there a future?

As you read and hear about the potential for use of the stimulus funds, please recognize that some of the stimulus will be going toward things that will really help our environment, and based on the jobs and technology, will also help stimulate our economy. Some of these initiative are shorter term (i.e., cash for clunkers), and some are longer term. An example of the longer term can be found from the following press release from my company.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 20, 2009 – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) will apply for funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Coal Power Initiative Round 3 to pay part of the costs of installing the nation’s first commercial-scale carbon dioxide capture and storage system on its Mountaineer coal-fired power plant in New Haven, W.Va.

The application deadline is Monday (8/24/09). AEP’s application will seek $334 million, about half the estimated cost of installing the system that will use a chilled ammonia process to capture at least 90 percent of the carbon dioxide from 235 megawatts of the plant’s 1,300 megawatts of capacity. The captured carbon dioxide, approximately 1.5 million metric tons per year, will be treated and compressed, then injected into suitable geologic formations for permanent storage approximately 1.5 miles below the surface.

The system will begin commercial operation in 2015, according to the company’s application for funding.“Commercialization of carbon capture and storage technology is an essential component in a successful climate strategy for this nation, which relies on coal-fired generation for about half of its electricity supply,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Coal is a low-cost, abundant domestic fuel source, but its use is a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions.

“First-movers like AEP who push the commercialization of technology will face higher costs than those who wait for others to act, costs that would be borne by our customers,” Morris said. “But without efforts like ours, the availability of solutions for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants will be needlessly delayed. It’s an appropriate use of federal stimulus funds to spur the advancement of this technology and to offset the financial penalty facing our customers and our company for taking the initiative.”

For this commercial-scale project, AEP is forming a diverse technical advisory committee that includes recognized experts in the field of geologic carbon dioxide storage. This group will include participants from Schlumberger Limited, Battelle Memorial Institute, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Ohio State University, West Virginia University, The University of Texas, Ohio Geological Survey, CONSOL Energy, and the West Virginia Department of Commerce Division of Energy. Additionally, Schlumberger will work directly with AEP to design and deploy the carbon dioxide storage system at Mountaineer.

AEP and Alstom will begin operating a smaller-scale validation of the technology in September at the Mountaineer plant. That system will capture up to 90 percent of the carbon dioxide from a slipstream of flue gas equivalent to 20 megawatts of generating capacity. The captured carbon dioxide, more than 100,000 tons a year, will be compressed and injected into suitable geologic formations for permanent storage approximately 1.5 miles below the surface.

No federal funds are being used for the validation project.


  1. First, working backwards ... NO Fed money is impressive. Second, is this an undertaking or what??

    Finally, perhaps we can harness Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity and fuel this thing, with all the excess carbon they produce!! j/k (kinda!!)

  2. LOL at Mark's comment!

    Wow, that is really cool. Might this be a solution to carbon offsets? It seems better than carbon offsets, since with that, someone is still producing all that CO2.

  3. Good that fed funds aren't going to fund it. Fed money is our money, the people's money, and we only have a certain amount of it, the rest will be our children and grandchildren's debts.

    At any rate, the fed gov can't afford to fund "Cash For Clunkers," how would they be able to afford this. Many car dealerships around the country are saying they are being forced to fund the clunker program. They give money to "customers" who bring in clunkers that go to "clunker graveyards." These dealerships are waiting for money from the fed govt for money that is yet to come in. Not a very well run program. And it's good that the govt is not going to be doing this program on a mass basis, we americans can't afford it. but i do feel sorry for these business owners who are taking the whole payment for the car clunkers on the chin...

    Just a little friendly political talk! hope you don't mind. ;)

    krissy knox :)
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  4. I'm amazed at how people can even come up with things like this and certainly seems like good use of stimulus money.


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