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Progressive Energy, in partnership with Advanced Plasma Power, National Grid and Carbotech, are constructing a facility to demonstrate the production of Bio-Substitute Natural Gas (Bio-SNG) via methanation of a high-quality syngas, derived from Advanced Plasma Power's gasification process. Such a gas can provide a renewable substitute for natural gas in the UK gas grid, providing renewable heat and power through existing infrastructure. This follows Progressive's successful completion of a Feasibility Study, and a Project Development Phase.
During the feasibility study (funded by National Grid, Centrica and NEPIC), Progressive conducted a critical appraisal of the opportunity afforded by Bio-SNG, comprising a review of biomass sourcing, a detailed analysis of the technology options and applicability for injection into the UK grid, full lifecycle carbon dioxide savings as well as a financial appraisal. It also provided proposals for implementation pathways, which formed the basis for the Bio-SNG Project.
Following the Feasibility study, a demonstration project was defined. This consists of three stages covering concept definition, detailed design and costing at both commercial and demonstration scale and culminating in phase 3, construction and operation of the demonstration facility. Phase 3 (a £5M programme funded by the BESTF ERANET and NIC Innovation programmes) has now begun. The Project will use syngas from an existing gasification facility and comprises gas clean-up and upgrading reactors, including a final methanation step involving catalysis. The project will lead to the subsequent production of larger scale plant for commercial exploitation.
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EU Research Projects
Progressive Energy have participated for many years in a number of EC-funded European collaborative research projects within the CCS arena. They are listed briefly below.
Dynamis (FP6, 2006-2010)
A large project with 30 partners conceived to investigate viable routes to large-scale economically viable hydrogen production with integrated CO2 management for use in either power production or other aspects of society.
Progressive Energy managed a main work programme within the project deriving, analysing and comparing 4 industry-sponsored proposals for pre-combustion large-scale power stations, including capture, transport and storage. Efficiencies and environmental impacts were derived and reported. One by-product of the project was a preliminary CO2 purity specification still in use today (see IMPACTS below).
ECCO (FP7 2009-2011)
The 3 year ECCO project was designed to facilitate robust strategic decision making for CCS in Europe by developing a methodology allowing transparent CO2 value chain assessment. Progressive Energy again ran some major work streams and sat on the Executive Board (EB). The scope was full CCS value chains in various contexts on-shore and offshore across Europe, including Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and Enhanced Gas Recovery (EGR).
The major output was a full chain CCS economic model with detailed modules for capture, transport and storage of all main types. This was used with a set of carefully designed CCS case studies, analysing economic, technical and legal aspects related to the CO2 value chains in order to report strategic conclusions.
IMPACTS (FP7, 2013-2015)
This current FP7 project is examining the impacts of impurities in the CO2 stream for full chain CCS projects or networks. The objective of IMPACTS is to develop the CO2 quality knowledge base required for defining recommendations for the safe and reliable design, construction and operation of CO2 pipelines and injection equipment, and long-term geological storage of CO2 . Progressive Energy are managing a main work stream and are on the project EB.
Fundamental research is taking place into the behaviour of anticipated CO2 mixtures. Current specifications (eg Dynamis, above) are used as a starting point for techno-economic analysis of full benchmark CCS chains to look for optimal levels of various impurity specifications from capture right through to storage. Safety, legal and environmental issues are overlaid on the analysis, which is focused on providing optimal recommendations for purity levels in various typical circumstances.
Progressive Energy has found participation in these EC-funded projects very useful and will be looking to continue this kind of collaboration with many European partners in future projects of this kind.