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Porto Tolle

Brief description:


Country: Italy

Project type: Capture Storage

Scale: Large

To test retrofit options for high-efficiency coal-fired units to be built by Enel over next 10-15 years.

Status: Dormant

Year of operation 2016
Industry: Coal Power Plant

Capture method: Post-combustion

New or retrofit: Retrofit
Transport of CO2 by: none

Type of storage: Aquifers

Volume: 1 000 000 - 1 500 000 tonnes/CO2


Porto Polle power plant

In March 2012, Enel announced that it was postponing making a start on the Porto Tolle project as it was still awaiting an operating licence from the local authorities and the final investment decision has been delayed until 2016. No further details are currently available but Enel appears to be still committed to this and other CCS projects.

Italy’s largest power company Enel plans to build a post-combustion carbon capture and storage demonstration project at a new 660MW power plant at Porto Tolle in the Veneto region of Italy. A court ruling in 2011 threatened the project, see below, but the company had hoped new regional laws due to be approved in March 2012 would clear the way for construction to begin in 2012. There have been no further reports.

The CCS technology will treat flue gases corresponding to 250MW of electrical output and the captured CO2 will be stored in a deep saline aquifer in the North Adriatic Sea, around 200km from the plant. The capture rate will be around 1 to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The CO2 capture unit will operate for an extended period to fully demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale.

In February 2011, it was announced that Norway's Aker Clean Carbon had won the contract to provide the carbon capture technology. They are producing a FEED study, with estimates for capital and operational costs.

The selection and preliminary characterisation of a suitable storage site has been carried out, and a model for the selected area produced (see link to storage site report below).

In March 2011, Enel announced that Porto Tolle would be a blueprint for a larger $1.38 billion facility, which would contribute to Italy's moves to lower emissions from coal-fired power plants in line with European targets.

Major hurdle for project, ongoing

After Italy's High Court overturned government, local and environmental approvals for Porto Tolle in mid May 2011, Enel pledged to continue with the project. In July, a new law being drafted suggested Enel may be able to bypass the court's ruling. The company hopes the law will be passed by March 2012. It has also asked the Ministry for the Environment to review the objections raised by the Council of State.

Environmental groups are opposed to the new law, highlighting the risk of pollution and possible delays in investments in renewable energies. Further developments are awaited.

The move by the High Court had followed complaints from environmental groups and local industry. On 20 May, the Ministry of Environment voiced its backing for the project but gave no opinion on the reason for the court's decision.

Follow the story:

NGOs lobby government

Reuters, 7 July 2011

Bloomberg, 2 June 2011

Quotidiano, 20 May 2011(Italian only)

Quotidiano, 23 May 2011(Italian only)

Reuters, 17 May 2011


Enel has already committed 70% of the total project cost. The company was awarded funding of up to €100 million for Porto Tolle from the European Commission’s European Economic Recovery Plan in December 2009. It is one of six European CCS projects that will, by the terms of this funding, share and disseminate the results of any technological advances and project progress through the European CCS Demonstration Project Network.

In May 2011, it was one of 13 CCS projects submitted to the European Union's NER300 scheme – a €4.5 billion fund to support CCS and renewable projects across the European Union. Read ZERO news article. The project made the reserves shortlist but ultimately failed to reach the final stage as the Italian government could not confirm co-financing.


Originally, Enel was expecting construction to begin at the end of 2011, with the plant ready for operations by 2012 and storage of CO2 starting in 2015. However, the timescale now seems unlikely. Project researchers are already operating a small-scale pilot capture plant at Brindisi power plant to test basic principles and technologies. Other ongoing research is considering pipeline transport and CO2 injection, and a pilot pipeline has been designed.

Enel’s CCS projects

Enel is forging ahead with its post-combustion CCS project and an oxy coal combustion project at Brindisi in the south of the country. In March 2011, the company inaugurated the capture plant at its Federico II power plant in Brindisi, with reports that initial tests were completed successfully. See Enel Brindisi.

The company has also begun operating an industrial-scale new power plant at Fusina, near Venice, which is 100% fuelled by hydrogen. See Enel Fusina.

Other Sources and Press Release

News article on project postponement, 9 March 2012

Reuters, Porto Tolleæs switch to coal, July 2011

Wall Street Journal article, March 2011

EU first interim report, February 2011

EU selected storage site report, February 2011

Aker Clean Carbon press release, February 2011

Zero emissions statement

Presentation, ENEL, CCS projects, march 2009 (PDF)

Presentation ENEL, CCS prosjects, 2007. (PDF)

Companies involved