Energy Manager

Siemens and E.ON to cooperate on climate-friendly power plant tech

Siemens and E.ON Energie have announced a partnership to develop climate-friendly power plant technology. The aim of this partnership is the development of an economic and efficient method for carbon capture — an important aspect in the development of low-carbon power plants. The starting point is a solvent with special characteristics that provide the basis for a new process to capture CO2 from the flue gases of power plants. A pilot installation on an E.ON power plant site in Germany will be operational by 2010. Further developments will follow, up until 2014. The mid-term target is to develop this new CO2 capture process ready for large-scale, commercial deployment by 2020.

January 30, 2008  By  Rob Colman

"E.ON as a world leading energy supplier brings into this partnership its experience from the planning and operation of numerous fossil-fueled power plants and the site for the planned pilot plant," says Bernhard Fischer, Chief Technology Officer, member of the executive board of E.ON Energie. Siemens in turn provides extensive experience and know-how in engineering and project execution for complete power plants. Siemens also brings in excellent chemical process development competencies and engineering skills of the former Hoechst AG.

"Combatting global climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century," says Michael Suess, CEO of the Siemens Fossil Power Generation Division. Even in the foreseeable future, it will not be possible to meet the rapidly growing demand for electricity worldwide without fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Climate experts agree: CO2 emissions have to be reduced quickly and significantly to limit the increase in temperature. "For that (to happen), a broad variety of technologies have to be implemented. This includes technologies to further increase the efficiency of power plants and processes to capture and store carbon dioxide (CCS)," adds Suess. Just under a quarter of global CO2 emissions are attributable to power generation. It is anticipated that viable large-scale CCS technologies could capture approximately 90 per cent of CO2. In the EU, mandatory carbon dioxide capture and storage is being debated for beyond 2020. For this reason, new solutions have to be developed and tested today.

"One of the most promising CCS technologies is post-combustion CO2 capture," said Tobias Jockenhoevel, head of the innovative power plant concepts division and project manager at Siemens Energy. "The goals are development of advanced ecologically compatible CO2 solvents, optimization of the capture process and intelligent integration into the power plant. The real challenge is to attain high power plant efficiency and to avoid negative impact on the environment, for example, by emitting solvent."

The new process and its potential integration into conventional power plants will be verified in 2010 in a small pilot plant under real operating conditions, with particular considerations of the significance for a full-scale plant. The new process will not only be feasible for new power plants, but it will also be appropriate for retrofitting existing plants, which opens up significant application potentials worldwide.


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