The carbon capture and storage system captures CO2 produced when fossil fuels are combusted, compresses it into liquid and then injects it underground. The method is quickly gaining interest in the EU.
The pilot unit has a thermal capacity of 30 megawatts and was constructed over the last 15 months at a cost of about €70 million.
However, environment groups criticized CCS with some calling it a facade, while others commented the technology would not be ready for the mass market by 2020.
“Vattenfall managers talk a lot about supposedly environmentally friendly coal power stations but they are still planning and building conventional coal-fired power stations with high levels of CO2 emissions,” BUND’s Energy Spokesman Thorben Becker told Forbes.
According to Greenpeace, CCS reduces 10 to 40 percent of the energy produced by coal-fired plants, signifying a greater amount of coal is needed to produce the same amount of energy.
In July, EPA proposed regulations on the injection of CO2 underground. The proposal is seeking permission for a new class of injection wells – Class VI – under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control program.