China is in the midst of a mammoth programme of development of coal-fired power stations. Between 2000 and 2004, China built new coal-fired power stations whose capacity was greater than all existing plants in Germany or India. In 2005 alone, the country increased its generating capacity by no less that 52 Gigawatts (GW); in terms of output, more than one Mongstad gas-fired power station a week. If newbuilding continues at the same rate, without CO2 capture, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will literally hit the skies.
At the same time, it is clear that the low level of costs in China make it much cheaper to build fossil-fuelled power stations with CO2 capture in China than in Europe.
This was the backcloth for SINTEF’s proposal just over a year ago for a Sino-European project that would make it easier to unite the interests of quota-hungry Europeans and electricity-hungry Chinese.
Coal-based electricity – with CO2 capture
The three-year cooperative Coach project, with a budget of €3 million (just over NOK 24 million), which has just been agreed by the EU Commission and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, started up just before Christmas last year. The project is dedicated to coal-based generation of electricity and fuel – with CO2 capture, and is a twin of the EU’s Dynamis project, which is led by SINTEF.
Dynamis was the start of an offensive aimed at reducing emissions that the EU has launched on the home front. The aim is to develop a full-scale coal or natural gas-fired demonstration plant electricity generation and hydrogen production – with CO2 capture. The plant is to be in operation by 2012 – 2015.
In the Dynamis project, representative of industry and researchers will consider just where in Europe this plant should be located, and what technology it ought to employ. In Coach, eleven European and nine Chinese industrial companies, universities and research organisations will carry out a similar evaluation process – but this time in China.
Easier to find investment objectives
Among other activities of the Coach project, its members will identify which of China’s ageing coal-fired power stations will be replaced by new plants. They will also evaluate which of the new-building projects are most suitable for CO2 capture – and recommend what sort of technology and methods should be used to deal with the CO2 produced by individual power plants.
“The results will make it easier for European companies to circle in development projects that would make attractive investment objects with a view to buying up emission quotas in the future”, says senior scientist Jens Hetland of SINTEF Energy Research, who leads one of the six sub-projects that make up Coach.
Arena for positioning
The SINTEF scientist explains that the project will offer European industry the prospect of benefits in addition to those of buying up quotas.
“Coach will give European suppliers an opportunity to position themselves on a future Chinese market for CO2 capture technology. Coach will also give both Europeans and Chinese the chance to develop joint CO2 technology for use elsewhere in the world”, says Hetland.
Electricity and hydrogen
In order to make itself independent of major imports of oil and gas, China is keen to develop its national energy supply, so that the country’s huge coal deposits can be gasified. This will involve transforming coal into hydrogen-rich gas that can be used as fuel in both power plants and the transport sector, in the form of pure hydrogen and synthetic petrol and diesel oil. With CO2 in plants of this sort, the CO2 is removed before electricity generation and is then deposited, preferably un underground porous rocks.
“The Chinese will also build pure coal-fired power stations in which the CO2 will be removed after the combustion stage. One of the tasks of Coach will be to find out where in China one or the other concept will be most appropriate,” says Hetland.
The French petroleum institute IFP in Paris is coordinator of the Coach project, in which SINTEF has a NOK 3.2 million share.
Aase Dragland | alfa
Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta
Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy