The UK’s largest carbon capture (CC) pilot plant, built at the coal-fired power station at Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire and owned and operated by energy group SSE, has been officially opened. The project, which is a collaboration between SSE, Doosan Power Systems and Vattenfall, is the first of its size to be integrated into a live power plant in the UK. As such, this represents a major step forward in proving that carbon capture technology is viable on a commercial scale.
The plant bridges the gap between the various pilot-scale trials that are under way and the commercial-scale demonstration projects envisaged by the UK government, as it captures 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide per day from the equivalent five megawatts (MW) of coal-fired power generating capacity.
“This flagship test programme at Ferrybridge represents an important milestone in the UK’s plans to develop CCS and provides a critical bridge to meeting our long term aim of cost competitive CCS deployment by the 2020s,” says Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. “This is the first operating carbon capture plant attached to a power station at this scale in the UK and has benefited from more than £6 million in public money. This investment will be invaluable to the wider commercial scale deployment of CCS by reducing uncertainty, driving down costs and developing the UK supply chain and skills.”
SSE chief executive, Ian Marchant comments: “The development of viable carbon capture technology is central to the UK’s climate change and energy security objectives. We believe projects such as this will be absolutely crucial in establishing when and how the technology can be developed. What we have here today at Ferrybridge will provide an invaluable source of reference and learning for the industry as a whole.
Industry regulators such as the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive will also be able to learn from the project, enabling the UK to move closer to widespread deployment of CCS.