If built, the station would also capture and store carbon dioxide from the gasification process. However, the project will only go ahead with government support, the company says, including “an appropriate commercial and regulatory environment.”

The pilot project would be built in phases, with the IGCC unit first followed by the carbon capture and injection technology that would use existing pipelines to store the liquified gas in depleted gas fields under the North Sea. Dr Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, said: “Our feasibility study is now concentrating on the possibility of building an IGCC at Killingholme that could then have carbon capture and storage phased in.”

The first phase could be up and running early in the next decade, the company says.

E.ON is also carrying out a trial for ‘oxyfuel’ firing of coal at its Power Technology research consultancy with the aim of establishing its feasibility for large-scale use as another carbon capture and storage option.

In related news, Mitsui Babcock has announced it has secured a contract for the front end engineering design of a carbon capture ready 500 MW supercritical coal-fired plant. The facility, which would be retrofitted at Scottish and Southern Energy’s (SSE) Ferrybridge plant in Yorkshire, would be the first application of supercritical carbon capture ready coal generation technology in the UK.

High-level engineering feasibility studies into the project have already been completed and lead contactor Mitsui Babcock, along with Siemens and UK Coal, will now carry out further detailed front end engineering design work with the aim of confirming the overall viability of the scheme within the next year. A decision on the project is expected during 2007.

The project, which involves the retrofit installation of a 500 MW supercritical boiler and turbine unit on the site, may begin commercial operations as early as 2011.

Installation of the supercritical plant is estimated to require an investment by SSE of around £250 million ($462 million) and the post-combustion carbon dioxide capture equipment is estimated to require a further £100 million ($185 million).

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