A guided tour of Schwarze Pumpe power plant

A guided tour of Schwarze Pumpe power plant

The oxyfuel test facility at Schwarze Pumpe

The oxyfuel test facility at Schwarze Pumpe   (Image: Vattenfall)      

Arriving at Schwartze Pumpe Power Plant when the sun is shining and the steam is bellowing gently from the cooling towers, it is easy to forget that this facility is a 1600MW power station which produces approximately 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year. In 2006, Vattenfall, mindful of the CO2 emissions released by this and many other power plants began to build an oxyfuel capture pilot facility with the aim of validating and improving the technology so that eventually it could be implemented at demonstration scale and commercial scale on other power plants. Members from the Network got the opportunity to tour around the pilot to learn more about the achievements at the facility. Schwartze Pumpe is a lignite fired power plant situated in the Niederlausitz region of the German federal state of Brandenburg with a 30MW oxyfuel test facility, which has been running since the middle of 2008. The boiler technology used in the test facility is Alstom technology. For a short period in 2011, the first tonnes of CO2 captured at Schwarze Pumpe were stored geologically in on-shore saline aquifers. 60 tonnes of CO2 per day were taken by lorry to the storage project in Ketzin (which is called CO2MAN), and stored. However, the produced CO2 is not currently being stored but some of it is used in industrial processes. Vattenfall was aiming to use the insights gained during the pilot phase for their Jänschwalde project. This project, which has been a member of the Network since it launched, was expected to store around 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This CO2 was to be captured from two units; a 250MWe (gross) oxyfuel capture unit and a 50MWe (equivalents) post combustion capture unit. The CO2 would have been transported via a steel pipeline, with much of the pipeline running over Vattenfall property. It was intended that the captured CO2 would have been safely and permanently stored in the Birkholz-Beeskow structure at a depth of approximately 1300m, with 2 caprocks. However, due to the generally negative views on CCS by the German people, combined with the ongoing impasse in passing the German CCS law, as stipulated by the European Union’s CCS Directive, Vattenfall have had to cancel the project. Network members visited the Schwarze Pumpe as part of a knowledge sharing event where Vattenfall shared the lessons learned from the planning and subsequent cancelation of the Jänschwalde project. As a result of the project cancelation, Vattenfall have now unfortunately left the network. We would like to thank them for their huge contribution to the network. We will continue to cooperate with Vattenfall and other cancelled projects to ensure that lessons learned are passed on and continuing projects can have the best chance of success.

Participants in the site visit to the oxyfuel Pilot

Participants in the site visit to the oxyfuel Pilot