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CO2 reduction in a modern coal-fired power plant

A study on government expenditure and technical feasibility

The Dutch minister of Economic Affairs is currently working on a plan to possibly phase out all Dutch coal-fired power plants still operational after 2017. The question is whether these plants can still be of value in the (short-/medium-term) energy transition by applying carbon capture and storage (CCS), biomass co-firing and/or utilization of waste heat.

This study, commissioned by the Dutch Society for Nature and Environment (Natuur en Milieu), focuses on the following issues:
  • Can CO2 emissions per kWhe output be reduced to the level of a modern Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Plant (CCGT) using biomass co-firing, CCS and/or waste heat utilization?
  • How much emissions reduction can be technically secured by such means? Is it feasible to achieve negative emissions, for example?
  • What subsidies and costs do each of these technical measures involve, both in absolute terms and relative to the degree of emissions reduction?
A CCGT plant was taken as a reference point for CO2 emissions per kWhe output because phasing out coal-fired plants will mean that lost generating capacity would need to be replaced by other power plants, and in recent years these have been mainly modern CCGTs.

A coal-fired plant with the CO2 emissions of a gas-fired plant
Reducing CO2 emissions per kWhe to the level of a modern CCGT can be achieved with three (sets of) measures:
  1. Co-firing 50% biomass
  2. 2.7 Mt CO2/a CCS
  3. Co-firing 30% biomass, 1.1 Mt CO2/a CCS and utilization of 8.6 PJ heat.
The net additional cost of a CCGT is €1.3 bln. (Net Present Value) over the full 25-year lifetime. The net additional costs per package of measures range from €2.3 to 2.8 bln. These will be borne largely by taxpayers via the renewable energy (SDE+) subsidy for co-firing biomass and the investment subsidy for the ROAD CCS demonstration project. The costs arising through lost power sales revenue due to on-site power consumption for CCS are not covered by subsidies and will be borne by producers.

‘Comparison’ webtool
The webtool Comparison of emissions and costs of coal- and gas-fired power stations has been developed to provide information on how the measures impact on emissions and costs. This allows users to adjust the scale of a measure and the period over which it is applied and immediately see the impact on emissions and costs.

Authors

Harry Croezen
Frans Rooijers
Jaco Blommerde

Delft, September 2016

CO2 reduction in a modern coal-fired power plant (only available in Dutch)

For more informatie, please contact Frans Rooijers

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