AEP supporting CO2 compression system research

COLUMBUS, OHIO - American Electric Power (AEP) has committed $2 million to support the commercial development of advanced compression technology for carbon dioxide (CO2) as part of an ongoing initiative that includes the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Lab (NETL), Ramgen Power Systems LLC and Dresser-Rand.

The initiative is developing a supersonic shockwave compression system that will reduce the cost and energy consumption associated with compressing CO2 for storage in deep underground porous rock formations.

Sequestering CO2 in underground formations requires compressing the gas to more than 1,500 pound-force per square inch (psi). Existing compression technology represents a substantial part of the capital and operating costs of developing CO2 capture and storage systems. The advanced compression system being developed by Ramgen will use supersonic shockwaves to compress CO2 for capture and storage. If successful, the shockwave compression technology is projected to reduce the capital cost of CO2 compression equipment by as much as 50 percent and reduce operating costs of a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) system by at least 15 percent.

AEP is leading the U.

S. utility industry in advancing CCS technologies. The company began capturing and sequestering CO2 October 1 from 20 megawatts of the flue gas at its Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, West Virginia, using chilled ammonia technology developed by Alstom. The Mountaineer CCS project is the first integrated CO2 capture and sequestration project at an operating coal-fueled power plant.

On December 4, AEP was awarded $334 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Coal Power Initiative Round 3 to pay part of the costs to scale up the chilled ammonia process to capture at least 90 percent of the CO2 from 235 megawatts of the plant's 1,300 megawatts of capacity. The captured CO2, approximately 1.5 million metric tons per year, will be treated and compressed, then injected into suitable geologic formations for permanent storage approximately 1.5 miles below the surface.

"Advancing technologies to capture and permanently store carbon dioxide from coal-fueled power plants is critical if we are going to reduce global concentrations of greenhouse gases," said Nick Akins, AEP executive vice president, Generation. "Now that we have completed construction and are operating the CCS validation system at our plant in West Virginia, our focus is on working to better understand and optimize that process to help ensure that the economics of CCS make sense for our customers and for use on the world's vast fleet of coal-fueled power plants."

In addition to providing financial support, AEP will consult on the development and demonstration of a 10,000-horsepower CO2 compressor that will be tested at Dresser-Rand's test facility in Olean, New York, in 2011. AEP also has committed to working with Ramgen and Dresser-Rand on potential future tests of the shockwave compression technology at AEP sites.

Ramgen was awarded a $20 million grant August 10 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for continued development of the shockwave compression technology.


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