In the long and arduous negotiations that led to Europe''s reaffirmation last week of its 2020 goals, with many companies and industries lobbying hard for exemptions from having to purchase carbon dioxide emission permits, Sweden''s Vattenfall stood out as a company that was lobbying the European Council to stick by its guns. ''Vattenfall is running an advertising campaign in Germany urging consumers to support a single global carbon price,'' reported the Financial Times. The Swedish national energy company has staked its future on the long-term success of carbon capture and storage, and has continued to report progress in advancing toward that goal.
This fall Vattenfall brought onstream its pilot oxyfuel plant at Schwarze Pumpe, Germany, where coal is burned in an atmosphere of oxygen and recyled gases. To date it''s captured about 100 tons of CO2 at the plant; it plans to inaugurate a two-year test program in February, and has applied for permits with Gaz de France to store the carbon underground at Altmark. Meanwhile, today it announced it is joining a British oxycoal project, which is led by Doosan Babcock and aims to develop a competitive technology suitable for full-scale power plants. Vattenfall also presented plans this year for other carbon capture and storage projects in Denmark and Germany.
Regarding the foundation of Vattenfall''s strategy, which aims for commercially viable CCS by 2020, I''ve been given to understand that Vattenfall did an internal study some years back on the long-term costs of CCS. It concluded that the costs of capturing and storing all carbon created in electricity generation might be comparable to what the costs were of equipping the world''s automotive fleets with catalytic converters. That is, the aggregate costs of CCS appear to the company to be easily affordable.