US utility Basin Electric is to embark on one of the world’s largest carbon capture demonstration projects after selecting Powerspan’s ECO2 technology for installation at a coal fired power plant in North Dakota.

Basin Electric is to install Powerspan’s carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology at its Antelope Valley plant in a 120 MW slipstream project that will capture around 1 million tons of CO2 per year. The project is likely to start operating in 2012.

The project is an opportunity for Powerspan to demonstrate its technology in a commercial environment. Its ECO2 technology is a post-combustion, regenerative process, which uses an ammonia-based solution to capture CO2 from flue gases and release it in a form that is ready for further compression, safe transportation, and geological storage.

“Successful commercial demonstration of our post-combustion ECO2 process represents the fastest and lowest cost route to meaningful CO2 emission reductions from our existing power plant infrastructure,” said Powerspan CEO Frank Alix. “The commercial-scale demonstration at the Antelope Valley Station will provide sufficient information to design, build, and guarantee performance for full-scale ECO2 systems.”

The selection of Powerspan’s ECO2 technology is the result of a competitive solicitation process for a CO2 capture demonstration project initiated by Basin Electric in mid-2007. Six companies responded to Basin Electric’s request for proposal and the ECO2 technology was selected as the most promising low cost option for commercial deployment and for its ability to best integrate with Basin Electric’s operations.

The Antelope Valley power plant consists of two coal-fired units, each rated at 450 MW. The ECO2 commercial demonstration will draw the equivalent of a 120 MW slipstream from one of the two units and will be designed to capture 90 per cent of the incoming CO2.

The CO2 captured from the Antelope Valley plant will be fed into an existing CO2 compression and pipeline system owned by a subsidiary of Basin Electric and used in advanced oil recovery operations.