WASHINGTON, DC - American Electric Power's decision to initiate the first commercial demonstration of carbon capture and geologic storage by a utility underscores the value of joint venture research and development by industry and government, the head of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy told those involved in the enabling technical activity.
"Commendation is due to AEP for its innovative decision and to all hands at the National Energy Technology Laboratory who participated in the underlying sequestration technology development that enabled the decision," Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Thomas Shope wrote NETL Director Carl Bauer. "Without the joint venture activities of the last 10 years the ability to act now might not have existed."
"I'm confident this decision will prove to be the first of many success stories now underway in our Carbon Sequestration Program," Shope added, noting that the overall effort is an essential element of the President's climate-change technology program. "A successful demonstration will represent a major advance in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing and future power plants."
AEP announced plans on March 15 to begin capture of up to 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year at its coal-based Mountaineer Plant in West Virginia and to store it on site in a deep saline reservoir. The decision follows a three-phase, 10-year project on the site sponsored by DOE through NETL. All three phases were supported by $7.2 million in DOE funding and $1.4 million in cost-shared funding from industry partners - laboratory and feasibility studies; economic and engineering analyses; and site characterization, testing and design feasibility studies.
The capture technology to be used at Mountaineer is a lower-cost chilled ammonia application. A successful validation project there is expected to result in a scaling up of the technology for capture of 1.5 million tons of CO2 a year. The larger version will be used on a 450 megawatt plant in Oklahoma that will link safe, long-term sequestration with enhanced oil recovery in 2011. The technology has the potential to capture up to 90 percent of a plant's carbon dioxide.
The Office of Fossil Energy's Carbon Sequestration Program relies on private-public joint ventures in technology research, development and demonstration. The program is dedicated to developing multiple technologies for both pre- and post-combustion capture of CO2 from the generation of electric power; and to developing technologies for the safe, long-term geologic storage of the greenhouse gas after its capture. More than $300 million has been invested to date.