E.ON, based in Dusseldorf, and Siemens, headquartered in Berlin and Munich, are putting a pilot CO2-capture plant into operation at the E.ON Staudinger power plant in Grosskrotzenburg, Germany, near Hanau. The two companies are pushing further with the development of a process geared toward climate-friendly coal-based power generation. A laboratory-proven process will be employed under real operating conditions at the power plant's hard-coal-fired Staudinger Unit 5. The pilot plant will be operated with part of the flue gas from Unit 5. Both firms plan to run the pilot plant until the end of 2010. The pilot plant's results and operating performance will be the basis for large-scale demonstration plants scheduled to start operation in the middle of the next decade.

“The challenge is to attain a significant reduction in the CO2 emissions associated with the combustion of fossil fuels,” says Michael Suess, CEO of the Fossil Power Generation Division of Siemens Energy. “In this context, CO2 capture and storage technologies will be of decisive importance. These technologies are available but they have to be tested for deployment in large plants, developed further and brought to market readiness.”

With the post-combustion process, the companies will focus “on an highly promising CO2 capture technology, which can be back-fitted in existing power plants,” says Bernhard Fischer, member of the managing board of E.ON Energie AG and E.ON’s chief technology officer.

With the post-combustion capture process developed by Siemens, more than 90 percent of the CO2 is removed from a power plant’s flue gas using special cleaning agents. One of the advantages of the technology is that it can be combined with the well-known and further developed steam power plant process.

The project is being sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics under the terms of the COORETEC Initiative. It is part of the federal government’s 5th Energy Research Program “Innovation and New Energy Technologies” and promotes research and development in the field of low CO2 power plant technologies.