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Carbon Capture Project Gets First U.S. PPA; Masdar Eyes CDM Credits

CPS Energy of San Antonio has signed the nation’s first power purchase agreement for electricity from a commercial-scale carbon capture project.

The utility, the largest one in the U.S. owned by a municipality, will buy about 200 MW of power from the Texas Clean Energy Project, a coal-based power plant with carbon capture planned for just west of Midland-Odessa.

According to the Department of Energy, the 400-MW plant will be a first-of-its-kind Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) poly-generation facility, believed to be the cleanest coal-fueled power plant operating anywhere in the world. TCEP is capable of capturing 90 percent of the carbon dioxide it produces, as well as 99 percent of sulfur dioxide, 90 percent of nitrogen oxide, and 99 percent of mercury, the DOE says.

Of the nearly 2.9 million metric tons of CO2 that will be captured annually at the TCEP plant, approximately 83 percent will be used for enhanced oil recovery in the West Texas Permian Basin, which will both prevent the greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, and will enable more oil to be produced. The remainder produces urea, a high-value product.

The $2.4 billion plant will receive $450 million in funding from the DOE’s Clean Coal Power Initiative; of this, $211 million comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2015.

Coal-fired plants account for about half of the electricity generated in the U.S. Despite its many programs pushing for the development and commercialization of renewable power, the DOE says that it expects coal to play a dominant role in meeting the country’s future energy needs.

In other carbon capture news, Masdar Carbon and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company are proceeding to tender on a CCS facility adjacent to the Emirates Steel complex at Mussafah, Abu Dhabi. Masdar also said it will explore registering a CCS project under the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism, which could make it the first such project to be approved for trading on that carbon market, Point Carbon reports.

The Mussafah project would capture nearly 800,000 tons a year of CO2-rich stream, prior to emission from the Emirates Steel Phase 1 and Phase 2 lines. The CO2 feed stream from the Emirates Steel plant, containing 90 percent CO2, would then be compressed into a dense phase, delivering a CO2 stream of over 98 percent purity through 50 km of the pipeline network, to be injected in an onshore field operated by the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations.

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