Alstom says that it has taken the next step in the commercialisation of carbon capture technology with the start-up of a pilot plant in West Virginia, USA.

The pilot plant can capture around 1800 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year using a proprietary advanced amine technology developed jointly by Alstom and Dow Chemical. Results from the two-year project will help the companies to further develop the technology so that it can be applied to coal-fired power plants around the world.

“As a leader in carbon capture technology, Alstom is excited to take the next step in commercialising an advanced-amine technology,” said Philippe Joubert, Alstom executive vice president and president of Alstom Power. “This pilot plant is designed to evaluate the technology operating under power plant conditions, test proprietary innovations jointly developed by Dow and Alstom and provide data necessary to finalise the design of large-scale demonstration plants that will apply this technology.”

The pilot plant captures CO2 from the flue gas of a coal-fired boiler at a Dow-owned facility in South Charleston. It is one of ten CO2 capture demonstration projects in seven countries announced by Alstom in the last few years.

Alstom says that it is aiming to make carbon capture technology commercially available within six years. It signed a joint development agreement with Dow in 2008 to advance the technology, which the company believes will allow coal to remain a viable source of power generation.

“Integrating this process with new advanced coal and gas fired power generation equipment will allow customers to minimise CO2 emissions while generating electricity as cost effectively as possible,” said Joubert.