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The project newsletter

"Bridging to the future" is the Vattenfall newsletter on work and progress within Vattenfall's project on CCS. The newsletter is distributed three times a year.

Bridging to the future No. 10, April 2008

Below you will find the online version of the project newsletter - Bridging to the future. A choice of shorte articles from April 2008 are presented below.
CCS soon to become a reality
Vattenfall launches CCS project in Northern Denmark
The Jänschwalde demonstration plant carries two technologies forward
Vattenfall’s view on the EU guideline for a directive on CCS
CESAR – Postcombustion at its best

CCS soon to become a reality

The Vattenfall CCS project is now in an expansive phase. 2008 will be the year when all the years of research and engineering will result in large-scaletesting and validation at Schwarze Pumpe. The first tests will start in mid 2008, and the captured CO2 is intended to be used for enhanced gas recovery (EGR) in Altmark.

2008 will also be the year when we move public focus from the 30 MWth Oxyfuel pilot plant to the next important step in scaling up the technology the demonstration power plants.

In February 2008, we announced our intention to investigate retrofitting one of the existing blocks at Nordjyllandsværket outside Aalborg in Denmark with CCS technology. The captured CO2 will be transported by pipeline to a nearby storage site for permanent storage deep underground. Investigations have already started and seismic tests are scheduled for autumn 2008. One of the first commercial-sized CCS demonstration plants in the world could be taken into operation as soon as 2013.

In parallel, we are announcing the conversion of one of the blocks at the existing power plant at Jänschwalde in Germany as a second demonstration case. Here, different storage options are still under discussion. The Jänschwalde demonstration units could be taken into operation soon after Nordjylland.

The demonstration projects are the last important step in scaling-up CCS technology. Demonstration plants of a commercial size are being constructed and must therefore prove that the technology works reliably and that the costs can be carried. Once this is proven, the technology could be even further developed to become commercial by 2020.

Vattenfall launches CCS project in Northern Denmark

On February 5, 2008 Vattenfall announced its intention to develop a full-scale Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) demonstration project in Denmark. By 2013, the Nordjylland Power Station (Nordjyllandsværket) will release only small amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere. Instead, the CO2 will be captured and transported to a geological structure where it will be
stored in a reservoir at a depth between one and two kilometers below the surface in northern Jutland.

As a first step towards the fulfillment of this demonstration project, Vattenfall has asked a team of engineers and geologists to start investigations to ensure that CO2 storage is a realistic possibility in northern Jutland.

If the storage proves feasible, the intention is to establish a full-scale CO2 capture plant in 2013 at Nordjyllandsværket, the most efficient coal-fired power plant in the world. The CO2 will, in liquid form, be transported to the storage facility through a 30 km -long pipeline.

Vattenfall is planning to carry out studies to assess the deep geological structure in two phases: a seismic survey in 2008 and appraisal drilling in 2009. The aim is to confirm the expectations regarding storage capacity, injectivity and structural containment, indicating
that the geology of northern Jutland would be well suited for safe, long-term storage of CO2. Based on the results of investigations of the geological structure, an investment decision is planned for late 2010.

A main objective of the demonstration project is to contribute to the development of a significant energy loss reduction in the capture process. Certain suppliers already claim that a dramatic reduction of the energy penalty can be achieved. Technology choices for the capture plant will be made as late as possible in order to safeguard the use of cuttingedge technology.


Concurrently with the initiation of Vattenfall’s investigation of the potential geological storage structure, a comprehensive public information campaign has been launched. Dialogue with the general public as well as decision makers is a priority in this context.

“The large-scale application of CCS technology is new and will obviously trigger many questions. We will do our utmost to ensure open and relevant information about the project”, explains Bjarne Korshøj, Director of Vattenfall’s Nordic branch for Thermal Power.

“First of all, we wish to make certain that the deep geology under northern Jutland is as ideal for storage of CO2 as indicated from our current knowledge. Expecting this to be the case, we then face quite a long planning phase in close dialogue with related authorities. We will, of course, draw on our experience from our Oxyfuel Pilot Plant in Germany. And we will invite both Danish and foreign researchers, environmental organisations and citizens to follow the development. We look forward to meeting all stakeholders in a dialogue about the progress of the project,” says Bjarne Korshøj.

The Jänschwalde demonstration plant carries two technologies forward

The first block-scale demonstration plant with Oxyfuel capture technology is being investigated at Jänschwalde in Germany. The new Oxyfuel boiler would be of about 600 MWth thermal, equivalent to 250 MWel gross electric, which compares to the 30 MWth pilot plant we are currently constructing and today’s largest Oxyfuel test rigs of 0.5 MWth. Postcombustion capture technology will be demonstrated on an equally-sized existing air-fired block. With this twofold milestone, Vattenfall is taking the final step before the commercial introduction of CCS concepts.

In February 2008 the feasibility study was started with focus on the reconstruction of one of six existing lignite-fired blocks at Jänschwalde into a CCS demonstration plant. Both the Oxyfuel and Postcombustion capture technologies are being investigated.

Full flexibility

The existing 3000 MWe power plant at Jänschwalde came into operation in the 1980s and was modernized in the 1990s with standard improvements and investments in modern flue-gas cleaning technologies. At each of the six blocks, two 650 MWth boilers produce steam for one joint steam turbine section that generates about 500 MW net electricity. This is why we refer to each boiler as a 250 MWel-equivalent and what makes the site excellent for conversion into a double CCS demonstration plant.

One new 250 MWel-eq Oxyfuel boiler will be built to replace the steam supply of one of the existing boilers. The latter will still be maintained as a backup in case the Oxyfuel boiler needs to be taken out of operation for technical adjustments or similar. The other existing boiler in the block will be retrofitted with a Postcombustion capture unit and it will be possible to also operate this unit without the capture function.

All together, this concept will give us full flexibility to operate the block with almost retained electricity generation levels and at the same time enable us to make changes to the capture units. With this double-demo project, we will be able to begin supplying CO2-lean electricity generated using lignite to the grid in 2015.

The Jänschwalde plant offers several essential benefits as a demo site as the available space for extra equipment and all the existing infrastructure can be used, which will help to keep costs down. Furthermore, the existing opencast mines guarantee the lignite supply. The Oxyfuel boiler will be fired with pre-dried lignite.

Transport and storage

Several on-shore storage options have already been investigated, as well as possible routes for the pipelines in which the captured CO2 will be transported to the final storage. All storage options are still open and are being further investigated in detail. After the highest priority of meeting safety criteria, the focus is also on identifying the most promising options in terms of economic viability and total storage capacity.

After the commissioning of the pilot plant at Schwarze Pumpe in mid 2008, the feasibility studies for the demonstration plant in Jänschwalde will begin. From early 2009, activities will focus on planning and applications for permits. The construction of the plant is scheduled to start in 2011.

Vattenfall’s view on the EU guideline for a directive on CCS

On January 23, the European Union introduced the so-called “Green Package” to reduce CO2 emission in Europe and one part of this package is a guideline for a directive on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). This guideline, besides other aspects, presents proposals on the development of a specific legal framework for CCS. Vattenfall highly welcomes these proposals as they underline and emphasize the importance of CCS as an indispensable technology in the effort to meet the ambitious EU climate protection goals. The proposed directive would arrange the necessary legal framework for CCS in such way that the technology can really be available as a reduction option.

We welcome the clear vote of the European Commission (EC) in favour of a free market model for introducing CCS and against administrative planning targets, because we are convinced of the fact that the market represents the most efficient allocation instrument. Therefore, on a long-term basis, all CCS projects on the market will have to hold their ground against competitive production technologies with low CO2 emissions, such as nuclear energy and renewable energies, without investment control, technology prohibitions and subsidies. In our opinion, an international carbon market will be of great importance.

There are four aspects within the directive that are seen to be especially positive by Vattenfall:

1. The EU recognizes the fact that the need for a framework on CCS is a time-critical topic that needs to be discussed and decided upon as fast as possible in order to implement the technology

2. The EU’s arguments acknowledge the fact that only market-based instruments are able to create a basis for the further development of CCS

3. The directive clearly abolishes problem areas from the past by eliminating obstacles to the applicable law. The EU proposes to change the waste and water directives in favour of CO2 storage

4. The directive is clearly linked to an emissions trading scheme, which in our view is a basic requirement in order to develop the technology

“Early Mover Disadvantage”

However, there is one point in the directive that calls for more detailed discussions in the future. The directive gives way to a non-discriminatory access to future transport and storage infrastructure. Vattenfall highly welcomes this aspect, but this must be combined with a commitment to some kind of investment protection, in order to avoid “early mover disadvantages”. There are also some practical details in the directive that have to be clarified.

Way forward

The next step towards implementing CCS is the construction of 10–12 demonstration plants throughout Europe. This is something the EU clearly supports and advocates. The technology has not yet been implemented on an industrial scale and will therefore require temporary support of the political, legal and also financial kind. Early demonstrations will need to cover substantial additional capital requirements and increased operating costs.

One option for financing these plants has been launched within the proposal “Supporting Early Demonstration of Sustainable Power Generation from Fossil Fuels” from the EC. This paper states that “additional resources will be crucial”, especially if CCS is to be given the opportunity to mature into a common technology solution. The proposal specifies that the “use of some revenues coming from auctioning under the ETS could be appropriate”. Vattenfall supports this view as it again underlines the importance of the implementation of a marketbased model for financial support.

The request from the EC to establish 10–12 CCS demonstration power stations by 2015 is very much welcomed by us. Appropriate possibilities for support should be established already during the process of the CCS directive discussion.

CESAR – Postcombustion at its best

A new EU-sponsored project on Postcombustion CO2 capture began on February 1 and includes pilot plant testing at the popular Esbjerg test facility. Similar to its well-known predecessor CASTOR, which was completed in January this year, three work packages focus on solvent development, plant design and modelling and pilot experimental testing and validation.

“Pursue and prevail” – a broad union will now follow up the successful spadework and seek a breakthrough in Northern Europe. CESAR stands for Carbon Enhanced Separation and Recovery. A consortium consisting of Vattenfall and 19 other European companies from the power, gas and industrial sectors, as well as research institutes and universities, answered the call within the European Union’s 7th research framework programme on “Advanced Separation Techniques” and convinced the Commission to fund the proposed collaborative project, with a total cost of € 7.1 million, with a share of € 4 million. But the scope is growing as even more partners are to join the project.

CESAR may be seen as a continuation of the cooperation established in the widely known CASTOR project (see this newsletter no. 4, April 2006). This has been concluded and its work and accomplishments have been reported. The specific objectives are thus similar, yet more ambitious and further detailed. Furthermore, the 1 ton-per-hour CO2 capture pilot plant in Esbjerg will be upgraded with a range of additional equipment and advanced process features.

The strategy thus runs two-fold, towards new solvent development and tailored advanced process design. The overall target is to reduce total electric power losses from a power plant with CO2 capture to below 250 kWh per ton of CO2. Today’s technology, in estimated scale-up, would in contrast correspond to 400–450 kWh/ton of CO2. This target has been broken down to reductions in electricity consumption and in the demand for heat in the capture process, where the latter shall be validated at a potential below 2 GJ per ton of CO2.

Thirdly, the integrated plant should lead to increased production costs of no more than € 15 per ton of CO2 captured. So much for the hard figures – in short this means that a realisation of this project’s ambitions would entail a breakthrough in the development of low-cost Postcombustion CO2 capture technology as the last step before commercial demonstration.

Vattenfall is involved with its international divisions, both the internal Research & Development company and Thermal Power in the national business units. After more than 10 years of conducting our own research in the field of CO2 capture, with our expertise in modelling and simulation as well as our growing experience in experimental testing and evaluation at the Esbjerg pilot plant, Vattenfall is committed to the accelerated generation of useable results to support our large-scale demonstration projects in Denmark and Germany.


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