CCS: From lab to reality

The world’s first pilot unit for a coal-fired power plant with CO2 capture is operational at Vattenfall’s Schwarze Pumpe power station.


The world’s first pilot unit for a coal-fired power plant with CO2 capture is now operational in Germany.



The pilot unit, located at Vattenfall’s Schwarze Pumpe power station, has a thermal capacity of 30MW and was constructed over the last 15 months at a cost of €70m (£56m) to the Swedish energy company.



According to Vattenfall, the carbon dioxide produced in the carbon capture and storage (CCS) pilot plant will be almost completely separated, liquefied and further treated for long-term secure underground storage.



Lars G Josefsson, chief executive officer and president at Vattenfall, said:  ‘The pilot unit is a milestone on the way to converting coal into electricity that is almost free of emissions.


‘It represents the first ever transition from lab to reality. Our intention is to make a decisive contribution to global climate protection.’



Tuomo Hatakka, chairman of the management board of Vattenfall Europe, added: ‘Coal has a future – but not the CO2 emissions it produces. With our pilot unit we are demonstrating that coal and high-tech do not represent a contradiction. We’re the technology leader in the development of CCS and we intend to pursue this route consistently.’



Vattenfall expects CCS technology to be economically viable and available for large-scale industrial applications from 2020 onwards.