Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Renew Tees Valley Ltd

  1.  Renew Tees Valley Ltd is a company limited by guarantee working for the Tees Valley to stimulate jobs and economic development through the medium of sustainable technologies and renewable energy. To achieve this we have a staff of technology specialists and work closely with industry and academe to bring forward projects to be sited in the Tees Valley.

  2.  In this case we are working with Progressive Energy Ltd and others to develop a Carbon Capture and Storage power station in the Tees Valley. This is a centre for power generation and chemical industries and a natural home for such developments as well as being on the NE coast well placed for linking to the oil fields for Enhanced Oil Recovery.

  3.  The Teesside IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) power station is sized at 850MWe, will produce 6 TWh pa and is designed to capture 5Mte pa of CO2. The cost attributable to CO2 is ~£10/te for CO2 at a pressure of 110bar.

  4.  The project will need the following:

    (a)  Viable technologies for power generation and carbon capture.

    (b)  Viable technologies and legal structure for injecting CO2 into oilfields for EOR long term storagec. A pipeline structure for collecting CO2 from the CCS power station and other point sources and transporting it to the oilfields.

  5.  IGCC technology captures CO2 at a price comparable to any renewable technology while providing similar low carbon performance. It has however the advantage that it is a direct replacement for the coal stations and nuclear stations due to be decommissioned.

  6.  This design of station will also integrate well into the existing electricity grid without large scale restructuring.

  7.  The IGCC technology is already existing and consists of the following elements:

    (a)  A Gasifier that can successfully produce fuel gas from coal heavy oil residues or other carbon source.

    (b)  An air separation unit to provide oxygen for the above.

    (c)  A shift reactor to convert the above fuel gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

    (d)  A wash system to remove sulphur compounds and carbon dioxide.

    (e)  A pipeline to carry away the CO2 for long-term storage.

  All of this equipment can be seen operating at a commercial scale and is available from manufacturers with normal performance guarantees and warranties.

  8.  Hence the answer to the question what is the projected timescale for producing market ready scalable technologies is "Now" as far as the carbon capture is concerned. However there are real implementation challenges associated with securing the finance for the plant, particularly associated with the current lack of long-term bankability of emissions trading benefits.

  9.  It has been agreed that the injected CO2 will remain in geological structures for geological timescales. This is analogous to the retention of oil and gas in naturally occurring reservoirs before normal commercial exploitation. It is also agreed under OSPAR and the London agreements that Enhanced Oil Recovery as proposed is also legal.

  10.  Such long-term storage is available under the North Sea. The storage in the UK sector alone would allow coal fired generation equivalent to 25% of current UK generation to be operated for 200 years and the CO2 put into long-term storage.

  11.  Worldwide the technology for CO2 capture from gas or oil facilities and transport by pipeline is now accepted. More than 25Mte pa of CO2 is already injected into geological storage. For example:

    (a)  Sleipner. Since 1996 1Mte pa of CO2 extracted from a nearby gas field has been injected into a saline aquifer in the North Sea. Its subsequent behaviour has been monitored and successfully modelled.

    (b)  USA; CO2 injection for enhanced oil recovery has been taking place regularly in Texas oil fields for over 20 years.

  12.  Hence Carbon Capture and Storage technology and in particular the Tees Valley IGCC Power Station is going ahead but would still benefit from the support of this Select Committee. The advantages are

    (a)  An immediately deliverable low carbon power source to help Britain deliver on its Kyoto commitments.

    (b)  A technology transferable to China and India to allow their development based on coal without the consequent carbon emissions from traditional power stations.

    (c)  Exportable technologies and services which will help our balance of payments.

    (d)  A stimulus to UK manufacturing and large scale projects industries.

    (e)  An extension of up to 20 years for UK oil production with the consequent Treasury revenues and stimulation to the economy.

    (f)  An extension to the use of British coal with security of supply and trade balance benefits.

September 2005

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