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DOE Awards Cooperative Agreement for Post-Combustion Carbon Capture Project

March 12, 2010 - 12:00pm


Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a cooperative agreement to American Electric Power Service Corporation (AEP) for the Mountaineer Commercial Scale Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project to design, construct, and operate a system that will capture and store approximately 1.5 million tons per year of carbon dioxide (CO2). The project was a third round selection under DOE’s Clean Coal Power Initiative, a cost-shared collaboration between the federal government and private industry aimed at stimulating investment in low-emission coal-based power generation technology through successful commercial demonstrations.

The system will employ Alstom Power’s chilled ammonia process (CAP) to capture at least 90 percent of the CO2 from a 235 megawatt (MW) slipstream of the 1,300 MW Mountaineer power plant near New Haven, West Virginia. The captured CO2 will be compressed and transported by pipeline to injection sites located on AEP property near the capture facility. The entire amount of captured CO2 will be permanently stored in two separate saline formations located approximately 1.5 miles below the surface. Without the new system, the CO2 would be emitted to the atmosphere.

Successful demonstration of the CAP system coupled with sequestration will demonstrate the viability of sequestration in regional deep saline reservoirs. It will also reduce the risk associated with commercial deployment of CCS technology by reducing CO2 capture costs compared to conventional post-combustion capture systems.

The project represents the culmination of a systematic process of scaling up a CCS system from pilot-scale to validation-scale to commercial-scale demonstration. The CAP technology was first tested at 1.7 MW size at We Energies' Pleasant Prairie plant and then at a 20 MW validation-scale facility at the Mountaineer plant.

If, as expected, the CAP system reduces overall costs by the amounts now projected, then AEP will consider the application of CAP technology to both existing and new pulverized coal-based units in the AEP system. This same technology could be applied to many additional gigawatts of coal-based electric capacity in the United States and throughout the world.

In addition to AEP and the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), which will manage the project for DOE, project participants include Alstom Power, Appalachian Power Company, Battelle Memorial Institute, CONSOL Energy, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and an advisory team that will provide oversight and guidance for the geologic sequestration elements of the project, including injection and monitoring of the CO2. The advisory team consists of geologic experts from AEP, Battelle, CONSOL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NETL, Ohio Geological Survey, Ohio State, Schlumberger, University of Texas, the West Virginia Division of Energy, the West Virginia Geological Survey, and West Virginia University.

The total project cost is approximately $668 million. The DOE cost-share is limited to 50 percent or $334 million of the total project cost. The project consists of four phases: project definition (phase I), design and permitting (phase II), construction and startup (phase III) and operations/demonstration (phase IV). Sequestration of 1.5 million tons per year of CO2 will begin in 2015, and the demonstration project will end in 2019.