Mountaineer CCS project deemed a success

Alstom Power said it completed successful testing and operation of a chilled-ammonia carbon capture and storage (CCS) validation project at American Electric Power’s 1,300 MW Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, WV.

The project reached the following achievements, according to Alstom Power:

· Capture rates from 75 to 90 percent,
· Carbon dioxide (CO2) purity of greater than 99 percent,
· Energy penalties within a few percent of predictions from Alstom’s process simulation model, CO2 injection levels of approximately 7,000 tons per month,
· Steady-state operation during all modes of power plant operation including load changes, and
· Availability of the CCS system greater than 90 percent.

The project, one of the world’s first facilities to capture and store CO2 from a coal-fired power plant, represents a scale-up of 10 times the size of previous field pilots, such as WE Energies Pleasant Prairie and EON’s Karlshamn power plants.

Analysis of the operating results were said by Alstom to validate predictions of its process simulation models in terms of energy penalties, CO2 capture rates and ammonia losses.

In addition, operating and performance feedback from the initial validation project led to several design improvements incorporated into the next phase project at Mountaineer.

The first phase of the CO2 capture project began in September 2009 and started storing the following month. It underwent mechanical and equipment modifications in the fall of 2010. The pilot project will continue to operate until June 30th with a focus on maximizing CO2 injection.

Alstom installed the CCS technology on a 20 MW slipstream of the plant’s exhaust flue gas. The slipstream is then chilled and combined with a solution of ammonium carbonate, which absorbs the CO2 to create ammonium bicarbonate. The ammonium bicarbonate solution is then pressurized and heated in a separate process to produce a high-purity stream of CO2. The CO2 is then compressed and piped for storage in geologic formations, roughly 1.5 miles beneath the surface.

Alstom has nine validation projects operating or being developed to optimize the three major technologies it is pursuing: chilled ammonia, advanced amines and oxy-firing. The test projects are taking place in Europe and North America.

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