EDF invites interest in DAC and H2 pilots

2 December 2020

EDF Energy subsidiary Nuclear New Build Generation Co, which owns the proposed Sizewell C project in Suffolk, UK, is looking for commercial partners to help develop hydrogen production and direct air capture (DAC) demonstrator projects linked to Sizewell C.

Two “Expression of Interest” (EOI) proposals have been issued, inviting companies with relevant expertise to come forward to deliver each project.

Hydrogen and DAC were highlighted in the UK government’s recent 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution as having a key role to play in reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The demonstrator projects are intended to lead to permanent larger-scale facilities connected to Sizewell C as part of a low carbon energy hub. 

Hydrogen production

Sizewell C is planning to develop a small demonstrator project using an electrolyser with the potential to produce up to 800 kg of hydrogen per day. The hydrogen would be used to fuel some of the vehicles and equipment used in the construction of the power station and reduce the consumption of diesel. Further uses could include supplying hydrogen to meet the requirements of local authorities, nearby ports, industry, and for local bus and rail transport.

The project is looking for interested parties to supply the electrolyser, provide hydrogen-fuelled vehicles or equipment (or express interest in hydrogen consumption for their own uses), and provide project management. 

A permanent facility supplied with low-carbon heat and power by Sizewell C could produce hydrogen at scale. 

DAC technology

Sizewell C is looking for DAC interest in the following areas:

  • Supply and development of DAC technology;
  • Design, engineer and construct DAC unit;
  • Develop opportunities for scalability and cost reductions; and
  • Project management services.

Sizewell C Co proposes to construct a twin European Pressurised Reactor station at Sizewell C and is also exploring how SZC could be part of a wider hub of low-carbon energy technologies that could support the UK’s binding target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

DAC has been identified as an increasingly attractive prospect owing to the role it can play in using the significant amounts of low-carbon heat generated by SZC to reduce carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.  SCZ believes that by diverting a very small amount of the plant’s thermal output for DAC, the site could become carbon negative. In the longer-term, SZC is considering a low-temperature heat driven DAC system alongside the operational SZC project, which would utilise steam at around 280 degC tapped off from the turbine installation at the SZC power station, and remove CO2 from the ambient air, in which the concentration is around 400 ppm, by bringing large volumes of air into contact with chemical sorbents.

The two methods being considered are absorption, in which CO2 is dissolved in a liquid sorbent, and adsorption, by which CO2 adheres to the solid surface of the sorbent material. In either case the CO2 can be released later for re-use.

In the near-term SZC is considering participating in the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Greenhouse Gas Removal competition launched on 9 November to develop and construct a DAC demonstrator project.

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