E.ON explores new technology for Dutch coal plant

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German utility E.ON said on Wednesday it has teamed up with a Dutch public sector partner to equip a planned coal-fired power station in Rotterdam with technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Its unit E.ON Benelux and the Rotterdam Climate Initiative (RCI), a municipal body, will study the feasibility of the so-called CCS technology for E.ON’s 1.2 billion euro ($1.53 billion) coal plant expansion at the Maasvlakte site, it said.

CCS, which is not yet technically complete or commercially viable, aims at preventing climate-harming CO2 to be blown into the atmosphere by separating the emissions for burial in underground storage.

Brussels wants all coal plants to use CCS after 2020 as part of a major drive to neutralize the damage from coal burning and requires that new plants next decade must be made capture-ready.

“With the aid of CCS our new, highly-efficient coal-fired power stations will make a significant contribution to achieving our climate protection targets and halving CO2 emissions from our power stations by 2020,” said Chief Executive Wulf Bernotat.

Multi-party RCI has set itself a target to halve CO2 emissions in Rotterdam by 2025 in comparison with 1990 levels.

E.ON has operated a small CCS pilot plant at Maasvlakte since last year alongside two coal-fired power generation units.

It aims to build the coal plant with a high fuel efficiency and capacity of 1,100 megawatts by 2013.

A spokesman for E.ON said the Dutch partners were keen to not only develop CCS but also related business opportunities to store CO2 in empty gas fields and below the sea.

While public opposition to coal is running high in neighboring Germany, the Netherlands has said it will focus on clean coal and renewable energy.

Reporting by Vera Eckert, Editing by Peter Blackburn