ScottishPower has conducted a study that examined the impact of converting its two biggest power stations to clean coal technology in what would be the largest project of its type in Europe.
Alstom Power and Doosan Babcock will provide the design input for the ‘supercritical’ turbines and boilers that could be fitted at the Longannet and Cockenzie power plants.
Carbon emissions would be reduced by 20% at the stations which have a total generation capacity of 3390MW, more than a quarter of Scotland’s electricity needs.
The new ‘supercritical’ turbines and boilers, which will burn coal at ultra-high temperatures and pressure, may be built within the existing power station buildings in Fife and East Lothian. If a decision to proceed is taken, it would involve large-scale investments by ScottishPower.
The phased 19-month development foresees both stations continuing to operate at a reduced capacity while the new facility is constructed.
If the proposal proceeds, construction could start in 2009 with operations beginning in 2012, further extending the lives of both plants and providing Scotland with low-carbon base-load electricity for the foreseeable future.
The refitted stations will also be designed to incorporate carbon capture technology currently being developed at Longannet. The scheme involves pumping carbon emissions from the station into deep underground coal seams to drive out methane gas which can then be used as a fuel. The carbon emissions remain trapped in the coal seams.