German power plant will store CO2 underground

30th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

30 March 2006, ESSEN, GERMANY - One of Germany's biggest utilities, RWE, unveiled Thursday a plan to build a power plant that sends its climate-damaging carbon-dioxide gas into a hole in the ground instead of up the chimney.

30 March 2006

ESSEN, GERMANY - One of Germany's biggest utilities, RWE, unveiled Thursday a plan to build a power plant that sends its climate-damaging carbon-dioxide gas into a hole in the ground instead of up the chimney.

RWE said it intended to build the world's first large-scale power plant that will integrate technologies to convert coal to gas, separate out carbon dioxide from the exhaust and put the CO2 in permanent storage.

The coal-fired power plant with an output of about 450 megawatts could come on stream in 2014 if planning and implementation proceed smoothly, stockmarket-listed RWE said in the western German city of Essen.

Total investment volume for the power plant and the transport and storage of carbon dioxide was estimated at 1 billion euros (1.2 billion dollars). But neither German authorities nor the RWE main board have given approval yet.

Carbon dioxide is a major cause of global warming. RWE, which has an oil-and-gas-exploration arm, Dea, predicts that the waste gas can be dissolved in deep layers of rock, reversing the existing process where valuable natural gas is drawn out of the rock.

First concrete planning steps for the carbon-dioxide-free plant had already begun. Testing would be done with both hard coal and gasified lignite, with a decision on the plant location expected in the second half of 2007.

RWE favours a location close to its opencast lignite mines in the west of Germany, but would also have to find a geologically suitable depository under Germany for the waste gas.

"It underscores our claim to technological leadership," said RWE chief executive Harry Roels.

Work is already advanced on new RWE power plants at Neurath near Cologne that are billed as both ultra-efficient and the biggest lignite-burning plants in the world at 2,100 megawatts, but they are to vent their exhaust gas into the atmosphere, not the ground.

DPA

Subject: German news

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