A research project for CO2 scrubbing, conducted by RWE Power, BASF and Linde, has been successful enough for the companies to launch the next phase of development.
Preliminary tests of the scrubbing technology resulted in a separation efficiency of 90%, high purity and much lower energy input, according to reports.
The original pilot plant was commissioned in 2009 in the coal innovation centre in Niederaussem, a lignite-fired power station owned by RWE and based in Germany. The technology will now undergo a long-term test from March until the end of 2013, with €6 million invested in the project, of which €4 million comes from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.
Different scrubbing agents were initially tested in three test phases of six months each as part of the pilot operation of the CO2 scrubbing plant connected at the Niederaussem plant. The aim was to identify an optimum solvent developed by BASF. The researchers found that, when compared with processes commonly used today, the energy input can be reduced by about 20% when using the new chemical solvent for CO2 capture. The new scrubbing agent also comes with significantly increased stability and resistance to oxygen. In the test phase starting now, the structure of the CO2 absorber, where the CO2 is removed from the flue gas, will be improved by scientists from Linde so that carbon dioxide can be removed even more effectively from the flue gas. If the test is successful, CO2 absorbers for large-scale power plants be made smaller more cheaply.