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ViennaGreenCO2 pilot plant goes into operation in Simmering

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Fertilizer,

Following successful laboratory tests, commissioning of a new system for the separation of CO2 from exhaust gases has begun on the grounds of the Wien Energie Biomass Power Plant in Simmering.

The pilot installation was developed by the Vienna University of Technology in cooperation with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) and Shell and designed by Bertsch. It serves the testing of a new technology, the exhaust gases are relatively inexpensive to extract carbon dioxide. The CO2 can then be used for example as fertilizer in the agricultural industry or as raw material in the food industry.

While only about 50 kg of CO2 per day could be separated in the laboratory test, the pilot facility is designed to capture one ton of CO2 per day. "With the start of the plant, the lead project in energy research achieves an important phase of R&D, because we can now test on a larger scale how economically our approach works in real operation," says Dr. Ing. Gerhard Schöny the Project Coordinator at TU Vienna.

Like other CO2 capture technologies, the Vienna project also uses nitrogen derivatives - so-called amines - to separate the CO2 from the exhaust gases of combustion processes and thus prevent it from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. However, while currently best available methods use aqueous amine solvents, in this process, the CO2 from the exhaust gas in the multistage fluidiaed bed column will firstly 'dock' onto solid amine-functionalised particles and be redissolved in a second column by heat input.

In the previous laboratory tests, more than 90% of the carbon dioxide could be separated from the exhaust gases. The researchers expect to reduce separation costs per ton of CO2 by up to 25% compared to the current best available technology.

With the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, the international community took a major step in the fight against climate change and set itself the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2?. "More efficient capture of CO2 from exhaust gases from combustion processes can contribute to a sustainable carbon cycle," explains Dr. Rob Littel, General Manager of CO2 Reduction Technologies at Shell. "The capture and potential use of CO2 is one of several measures that can help the world achieve its ambitious goal of mitigating climate change, while delivering more and cleaner energy."

"Here at the power plant location Simmering we offer a suitable platform for applied research," says DI Karl Gruber, Vienna's Energy Director. "The drastic reduction of CO2 emissions is essential to make cities like Vienna worth living. Therefore, Wien Energie sets key trends in the expansion of renewable energy solutions, in research and innovation. The development of CO2 capture processes can also be an important building block in the overall context of decarbonisation."

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