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Howden Targets Lower Carbon Emissions

In October 2012, during a visit to Howden Group’s headquarters in Renfrew, Scotland, the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey announced a new technology project that could lead to government investment of over £20 million in a ground-breaking carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) initiative for combined cycle gas turbine power stations.

​The system will be suitable for both new build stations and retrofit projects, and could make a significant contribution to meeting the UK's carbon reduction targets.

This new development is the result of international co-operation under the auspices of the UK's Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), through a consortium led by the Canadian company Inventys. This project adds to the ETI's existing £33 million investment in its Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) technology programme, which aims to build infrastructure capability for the UK.

The creation of this new project means that a new 5MW carbon capture demonstration plant will be designed, built and tested by 2016. The process uses a carbon-adsorbent material contained in a rotating bed, which is projected to draw up to 95% of the CO2 out of the exhaust gases from the power stations, then release it into a stream of steam for sequestration and storage.

The mechanical infrastructure of the machine, a slowly rotating assembly is being developed by Howden engineers based on their experience of producing technologically advanced rotary regenerative heat exchangers for power stations. The adsorbent material, VeloxoTherm®, has been designed by Inventys and will be produced by MAST in the UK. Doosan Power Systems will provide system design and engineering expertise and Rolls Royce will provide specialist support to the consortium.

This new technology is designed to be used on new-build Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power stations or to retrofit CCS onto CCGT power stations. Initial assessment suggests that the system could reduce electricity production costs by 13% compared to current CCS technologies. The first phase of the project involves a £1.6 million small-scale 5MW prototype that will be carefully monitored to confirm that the expected benefits are reached. This will include a small-scale demonstrator prototype, laboratory work and techno-economic assessment to confirm the projected benefits. If this is successful, this will then be followed by a conceptual design for a larger-scale demonstrator plant.

Following the first phase, the ETI is confident that a £20 million three-year programme will commence with the detailed design, assembly and testing of a UK demonstrator plant culminating in large-scale commercial application.

Ian Brander, CEO of Howden, emphasised the importance of the project saying: "We have all become increasingly aware of the effects of climate change and the need to reduce CO2 emissions from energy intensive industries. This need for change provides an opportunity to use our knowledge and experience to develop products and systems that will help in meeting reduction targets, and in the longer term help position the UK as a leading provider of next generation low carbon technologies."


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