Japan's Hitachi, German energy group EON and Belgium group Electrabel are joining forces to design and run a carbon capture test center, the companies said on April 17. Carbon dioxide capture and storage is seen as a major potential boon in the global attempt to cut down on the greenhouse gas in the fight against climate change.
The target of the joint project is "to design, build and operate a test facility to investigate the behavior of different solvents in the process for CO2 capture from flue gases," thy said. Hitachi Power Europe will be responsible for the design, set up and the operation of the test facility which will be able to be moved around to Electrabel and EON Kraftwerke sites in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries wherever it is "technically most interesting," the statement added. Electrabel and EON Kraftwerke will integrate the test facility in their power plants so as to perform the test programs under real conditions.
As well as CO2 capture, the three industry partners will be seeking to increase efficiency, especially for turbine and steam generators, and to reduce emissions in general.
The development of carbon capture and storage techniques is part of an ambitious EU project to cut its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 2020 from 1990 levels. Under the plans, the use of renewable energies like biomass, wind and solar power will rise to 20% of all European energy forms. Biofuels will also have to make up 10% of fuels used for transport.
Carbon capture and storage works by capturing carbon dioxide emissions as they are produced by power stations and then storing them underground, so that they cannot interact with the atmosphere and produce the greenhouse effect. However the technology is in its infancy. The first EU-supported pilot project opened near Esbjerg, Denmark in 2006.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008