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Longannet CCS Project, Scotland, UK

Longannet Fact Sheet: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Project

Company/Alliance: ScottishPower, Shell, National Grid and Aker Clean Carbon
Location: Firth of Forth, Fife, Scotland, UK
Feedstock: Coal
Size: 330 MW
Capture Technology: Post-combustion (Aker Clean Carbon's technology)
CO2 Fate: Sequestration in the North Sea via Shell's Goldeneye platform
Timing: Awaiting news of UK award (2010); Operational (2014)

Motivation/Economics:The project is waiting to hear on the decision taken by the UK government if it will receive the funding. E.ON pulled out of the Kingsnorth project (October 2010) leaving Longannet as the only remaining competitor for the UK CCS project. Provided all the requirements are met, Longannet will receive the £1 billion in capital expenditure for the first UK commercial-scale CCS demonstration project. ScottishPower was one of 9 UK projects to apply for EU funding of NER300 funding – a €4.4 billion fund earmarked to help support CCS and renewable energy projects (February 2011).

Comments: In May 2009 Scottish Energy began a small 1 MW demo capture project which successfully captured over 90%. Shell and Petrofac have agreed on a CO2 storage plan if Longannet is successful on winning the UK CCS grant. The CO2 will be piped to an existing gas processing facility before being piped offshore to Shell's Goldeneye Gas Platform.

Project Link: ScottishPower Carbon Capture Website

Longannet power station is a large coal-fired power station in Fife capable of co-firing biomass, natural gas and sludge. The station is situated on the north bank of the Firth of Forth, near Kincardine on Forth. Its generating capacity of 2,400 megawatts is the highest of any power station in Scotland. The station began generating electricity in 1970, and when in became fully operational, it was the largest coal-fired station in Europe.[1] It is now the third largest, after Bełchatów in Poland and Drax in England.

The station was opened in 1973 and operated by the South of Scotland Electricity Board, until 1991 when its operation was handed over to Scottish Power following privatisation. The station is a regional landmark, dominating the Forth skyline with its 183 m (600 ft) chimney stack. Like most power stations in Scotland, Longannet lacks cooling towers. Instead it uses water from the River Forth for cooling.

The UK's first ever carbon capture and storage (CCS) unit was commissioned at the station in 2009.

Scottish Power's Carbon Capture and Storage Vision
Out of the laboratory and into reality ...

All power stations that burn fossil fuels to create energy currently emit CO2 straight into the atmosphere. We at ScottishPower know we have to act fast to reduce these emissions if we are going to tackle climate change.
Carbon Capture and Storage, often referred to as CCS for short, is a new technology that will enable us to trap almost all of the CO2 from our power stations, turn it into a liquid and transport and store it safely in porous rock deep under the sea bed.
There has been extensive laboratory research and small-scale tests on the individual parts of the Carbon Capture and Storage chain, but what no one has done yet is to join the chain together at a scale sufficient to capture the emissions from an existing coal power plant.

We think we can and that's why we're investing millions to move CCS out of the laboratory and into reality at our power station at Longannet in Scotland. We hope that by 2014 the electricity it produces to heat and light homes across the UK will come from a power source that's about as clean as it can be.

"If the UK Government wishes to demonstrate the (CCS) technology on conventional power plants, then it is only sensible to use an existing station such as Longannet in Scotland, rather than building a new one"
WWF Reaction to DECC Coal Announcement 23rd April 2009   
Prototype Carbon Capture Unit

The Prototype Carbon Capture Unit is the first working example in the UK of a carbon capture system operating on a coal fired power station. Once it is fully operational it will tell us what we need to know so that we can scale it up and eventually capture up to 90% of the CO2 that comes out of the chimney at Longannet Power Station.
This is about taking the concept of CCS out of the lab and turning it into a full scale commercial reality and that is crucial if we are to meet the tough carbon reduction targets that will prevent global warming.

What Does It Do?

The Prototype Carbon Capture Unit is an exact, small-scale replica of a full carbon capture plant. It allows ScottishPower and Aker Clean Carbon to test the complex chemistry involved in capturing CO2 from power station flue gases.


The MTU will test 3 different amine solutions over the next 7 months. The tests will focus on two key areas:
1. Energy efficiency – how much heat is required to break the bond between the CO2 and the amine.
2. Amine degradation – how long the capture chemical can keep capturing the CO2 effectively.
The Holy Grail is to find the amine that is long lasting (can be used to capture CO2 again and again over a long period of time) but that breaks away from the CO2 it has captured, with the lowest amount of heat.

Where has it been until now?

The Prototype Carbon Capture Unit was built by Aker Clean Carbon in Verdal (Norway). Completed on September 15, 2008, it was then transported to Risavika (Stavanger, Norway) for a 137 day test programme on a Natural Gas plant. This test period at Risavika has already brought about discoveries that could not be demonstrated in a lab.

Technology by Aker Clean Carbon

Aker Clean Carbon has developed its own technology for carbon capture. The basis of the process is the chemical reaction between a liquid absorbent, normally an amine, and CO2.

In the capture plant, the exhaust containing CO2 is routed via inlet coolers to a large absorption tower. The gas enters at the bottom of the absorber and gets in contacts with the (liquid) amine, which flows downwards. The amine will absorb most of the CO2 by a chemical reaction. The remaining flue gas is treated in the water wash unit, to ensure removal of all amines before disposal to air from the top of the absorber.

The amine containing CO2 is pumped via heat exchangers to the stripper part where CO2 is “stripped” off (or boiled off) by heat from the re-boiler. After the stripping process the amine is pumped back to the absorber via an energy converter, and the cycle is repeated.

Watch how the technology works by clicking on the related file below

Mobile Test Unit

Aker Clean Carbon‘s custom-built mobile test capture facility has been in operation since the autumn of 2008. The prime objective for the Mobile Test Unit is to provide operational data from reliable field tests.

The plant will capture CO2 from different industrial flue gases and is equipped with advanced monitoring systems. The facility will verify new design features and solvents, and operate in an industrial environment during long-term testing.

The facility is designed for easy transport and hook-up, which means it can be transported to different sites.

The first destination for the capture facility was the gas research centre in Risavika outside Stavanger in Norway. The MTU was moved to Longannet in Scotland (UK) in the first half of 2009. This was the first time it was performing tests on a coal-fired power plant. In June 2011, the MTU moved to Alabama, US where it will be performing test campaigns at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC), hosted by Southern Company.

Watch how the MTU works by downloading the illustration below