With a worldwide drive towards clean coal technologies, Scottish Power have reported the UK’s first test of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) at an operational coal fired power station.
The prototype plant, as small scale replica of the final proposed CCS plant was put into operation at the end of May at Longannet power station, allowing the company to test the chemistry involved in capturing Carbon Dioxide from power station flue gases. The project is part of a programme to deliver a full project by 2014. A full scale installation at Longannet would aim to lock approximately 90% of carbon emissions, equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.
The technology, if successful, would see carbon emissions captured into a solvent and subsequently stored underground. Current thinking suggests that depleted oil fields under the central North Sea have the capacity to store all of Europes captured carbon well into the next century.
Paul Malam, Partner in Carter Jonas' Minerals & Waste Management Division and member of the firms Energy Team commented: “This is excellent news for the UK energy industry and for coal extraction going forward. Despite the closure of much of the UK coalfield in the 1980s, the country still has one of the largest resources of unworked coal in Europe, with supplies estimated at 200 years”
“Using coal to produce energy in it’s current form clearly goes against the need to reduce carbon emissions on a global scale. With a technological race ongoing to seek sources of clean energy, any process that is capable of utilising such a large coal resource, with limited emissions must form a valuable part of the energy sector in the future.”
The test plant has been met with congratulations from the Prime Minister who welcomed Scottish Power's response to the climate change agenda.