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On 1 March 2011, Enel inaugurated Italy's very first carbon capture pilot at its Federico II coal-fired power plant at Brindisi, in the south of the country. The plant operates four 660MW coal-fired units with a total capacity of 2,640MW.
The capture pilot plant successfully completed its first test and will eventually capture 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per hour up to a maximum of 8000 tonnes per year. The project uses amine capture technology, considered the most appropriate for retrofitting at existing thermal power plants.
The pilot plant is part of a joint venture agreed with Eni in 2008, and the captured gas will be transported to Eni's Stogit depleted gas field in Cortemaggiore in Northern Italy, where it will be injected and permanently stored underground. The pilot storage plant is expected to be operational by 2012. The design stage has been completed and Enel and Eni are awaiting final approvals. Basic monitoring of CO2 levels in the storage site area has already been carried out over several months.
The knowledge gained from the pilot will guide the design and operation of the technology at a commercial scale - its first application on an industrial basis being Enel’s new coal power plant at Porto Tolle, which will capture up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year that will be stored in a saline aquifer below the Adriatic Sea. By July 2013, the pilot has been running for 5000 hours with promising efficiency results.
The linked projects will require a new system to capture, liquefy and transport CO2 to the Cortemaggiore site. To this end, Enel and Eni have decided to build a pilot dense-phase CO2 transport line at the Brindisi site.
Enel’s plans at Brindisi also include building a 320MW coal-fired power plant with zero emissions. The plant will use pressurized oxy-combustion technology already tested at pilot scale. It is expected to be operational by 2016.
The capture plant cost €20 million to complete. The European Union provided a grant of €100 million from its European Recovery Programme for Energy towards the Brindisi pilot project and for preliminary work on the Porto Tolle plant.
More information and press releases
Enel CCS projects presentation (PDF)