Well not quite, but a 40 MW plant is hardly lab sized.
Doosan Babcock today announced a major step towards making full-scale carbon dioxide capture and storage a reality with the opening of the world’s largest OxyCoal™ Clean Combustion Test Facility at Renfrew, by Joan Ruddock MP, the Minister of State for the Department of Energy & Climate Change. The new facility is demonstrating Doosan Babcock’s OxyCoal™ Clean Combustion system for the first time on a full-size 40MWth burner.
The technology they use is rather clever. Removing carbon dioxide from flue gas is extremely difficult and very expensive. So their approach basically produces CO2 & water.
OxyCoal™ Firing as a Carbon Capture technology achieves its results by separating air into two primary components, oxygen and nitrogen, and then fires the coal in the oxygen. The resulting flue gas, comprising mainly CO2 and water vapour, can be directly compressed to remove the water vapour and capture the CO2, leaving only a small quantity of inert gases to be vented into the atmosphere.
The oxygen separation is of course energy intensive, and we are not told how much energy is lost. However, it still seems better to remove impurities at source.
It also seems more suited to retrofitting existing plant.
This approach to OxyCoal™ CO2 capture can be applied to conventional coal-fired utility boilers without the need for major pressure part modifications to both new build and retrofitable existing plants. The OxyCoal™ fired plant retains a full air-firing capability thereby minimising the commercial risk of the early adoption of the technology.
By designing for retrofits, and taking commercial risks into consideration, the approach seems a very sensible one. Now we need to know , how much it’ll cost, and where all that CO2 is going to go.