16 February 2009 – Pierre Gauthier, president of Alstom’s North American operations, said the company is encouraged by early test results from oxy-firing technology as a way to capture carbon from coal-fired power plants.
Initial work by the company had favored a chemical approach to the carbon capture challenge, either through amine or chilled ammonia. Oxy-firing tests have been encouraging, however. The technology may be suitable for a range of applications, including retrofits and installations on conventional and circulating fluidized bed boilers.
Gauthier said Alstom is seeking a host for a planned 100 MW to 200 MW test. The executive gave a wide ranging interview to Power Engineering magazine on the sidelines of CERA Week in Houston February 13. The full interview is available to subscribers in the magazine’s February 17 electronic newsletter.
Gauthier said carbon capture technology could be ready for commercial use in 2015.
“Both approaches (chemical and oxy-firing) are adaptable to retrofit,” Gauthier said, although chemical carbon capture requires a larger footprint for equipment. He declined to discuss cost estimates, but said power generators could be able to compare the cost of carbon capture favorably with nuclear and solar options.
“We’re very encouraged it’s economically feasible,” Gauthier said.