Vattenfall has announced a further step in its ambitions to commercialise carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology with plans for a demonstration plant at a coal fired power plant in Germany.

The Swedish utility will invest around EUR1 billion in the project, which will equip one unit of the 3000 MW Jänschwalde lignite plant in the state of Brandenburg with CCS equipment. The demonstration project will be in operation no later than 2012.

“Fossil fuels can be high-tech, and do have a great future,” said Tuomo Hatakka, CEO of Vattenfall Europe. “The emission problem can be solved, and by solving it Vattenfall will establish itself once again as a technological leader in terms of CCS.”

The company is about to start-up a 30 MW demonstration of its Oxy-fuel carbon capture process at the Schwarze Pumpe power plant in Germany. The technology has been tested at the laboratory scale and the company hopes that this EUR70 million demonstration will help it to optimise the process.

At Jänschwalde, Vattenfall will equip one 500 MW block with CCS technology. The block consists of two boilers, one of which will be retrofitted with post-combustion technology while the other will be rebuilt using Oxy-fuel technology.

The company is working with Gaz de France to develop technologies and locations for storing captured carbon.

“After the inauguration of a CCS pilot plant this summer, a demonstration plant on industrial scale level is the consistent next step,” said Hatakka. “In this way Vattenfall takes responsibility to combat climate change, while ensuring secure supply of electricity and heat from Germany’s most important domestic fuel, lignite.”

Jänschwalde is a good location for the joint demonstration of two different CCS technologies due to its design, with each 500 MW block equipped with two boilers feeding into a single steam turbine. Other advantages of the site include the fact that the necessary space for additional equipment is available.

The feasibility studies for the project will begin this year and Vattenfall is hoping to submit planning and permit applications in 2009. It is aiming to begin construction in 2011.