International institution

The founding of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCSI) has been announced by the Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd.

The GCCSI has been formed to build up a global register of existing CO2 capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects as well as bring together an international research and development knowledge base. German energy group, RWE Power, is among the founding companies and will be involved in setting up the GCCSI.

RWE is currently working on the Mountaineer hard-coal-fired power plant in West Virginia and has plans to construct a coal-fired power plant with CO2 capture, transport and storage technology in Hürth, near Cologne. The 450MW plant is expected to begin operation by early 2015, subject to regulatory approval.

Dr Johannes Lambertz, RWE’s chief executive, said: ‘We are delighted to be joining this internationally focused institution as a founding member. This underlines our aim to be one of the key players in driving forward CO2 capture and storage technologies. Climate protection and reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are global challenges. CCS has the potential to take on a decisive role. Our primary goal is and remains to enable commercial use of CO2 capture and storage by 2020.’

The group’s role in the GCCSI will further strengthen its ties with Australia, after having recently been issued a licence to use its fluidised bed drying process in the country. This system reduces the water content of the raw lignite from 60 to 12 per cent to enhance energy extraction from raw material.

According to RWE, future lignite-fired power plants will be able to use the process to improve efficiency by up to 48 per cent. A €50m (£44m) prototype system is currently in operation at the Niederaussem power plant in Germany.