Siemens and E.ON Energie have agreed to jointly develop climate-friendly power plant technology that relies on an efficient method for carbon capture, an important step on the way toward the low-carbon power plant.
The starting point is a solvent with special characteristics, which provide the basis for a new process to capture CO2 from the flue gases of power plants. A pilot installation on an E.ON power plant site in Germany will be operational by 2010 with further developments taking place till 2014. The mid-term target is to develop this new CO2 capture process ready for large-scale, commercial deployment by 2020.
"E. ON as a world leading energy supplier brings into this partnership its experience from the planning and operation of numerous fossil-fuelled power plants and the site for the planned pilot plant," said Bernhard Fischer, chief technology officer, member of the executive board of E.ON Energie.
Siemens in turn provides extensive experience and know-how in the engineering and project execution for complete power plants. It also has reputed chemical process development competencies and engineering skills of the former Hoechst AG, which Siemens says are "very good preconditions for successful development of an efficient CO2 capture process, as well as for its optimum integration in a power plant process."
"Combatting global climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century," said Michael Suess, CEO of the Siemens fossil power generation division. Even in the foreseeable future, it will not be possible to meet the rapidly growing demand for electricity worldwide without fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.
Climate experts agree that CO2 emissions have to be reduced quickly and significantly to limit the increase in temperature. "For that a broad variety of technologies has to be implemented. This includes technologies to further increase the efficiency of power plants and processes to capture and store carbon dioxide (CCS), "added Suess.
Just under a quarter of global CO2 emissions are attributable to power generation. It is anticipated that viable large-scale CCS technologies will capture approximately 90 per cent of the CO2. Within the EU, mandatory carbon dioxide capture and storage is being debated for beyond 2020. For this reason new solutions have to be developed and tested today.
"One of the most promising CCS technologies is post-combustion CO2 capture," said Tobias Jockenhoevel, head of the innovative power plant concepts division and project manager at Siemens Energy. "The goals are development of advanced ecologically compatible CO2 solvents, optimisation of the capture process and intelligent integration into the power plant. The real challenge is to attain high power plant efficiency and to avoid negative impact on the environment, for example, by emitting solvent."
"This is exactly the strategy and purpose of the technology initiative 'innovate.on' pursued by E.ON," added Joerg Kruhl. "Besides the mid-term development of beneficial technologies, the fast transfer of promising post-combustion capture processes to real power plant operation is what counts in particular for E.ON today. This is the necessary next step on the way toward large-scale deployment of CCS in the energy sector."
The new process and the energetically optimum integration into conventional power plants will be verified in 2010 in a small pilot plant under real operating conditions, with particular considerations of the significance for a full-scale plant.
The new process will not only be feasible for new power plants, but it will also be appropriate for retrofitting existing plants, which opens up significant application potentials worldwide.
This joint development project demonstrates cooperation in the technology sector where Siemens, a leading global power plant supplier, cooperates with the largest private energy services provider E.ON. The project is being funded by the German federal ministry of economics and technology (BMWi) within the framework of the COORETEC initiative.
The Siemens Energy Sector is the world's leading supplier of a complete spectrum of products, services and solutions for the generation, transmission and distribution of power and for the extraction, conversion and transport of oil and gas.
In fiscal 2007 (ended September 30, based on IFRS), the Energy Sector had revenues of approximately €20 billion and received new orders totalling around €28 billion and posted a profit of €1.8 billion.
E Munich-headquartered ON Energie is Europe's largest privately owned provider of energy services and generates over 270 billion kWh of electricity per year fuelled by a balanced mix of primary energy resources - primarily fossil fuels, nuclear power, and hydropower - E.ON's annual gas sales total 130 billion kWh.